If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. ~James 2:8-13
I for some time now have been very interested in learning more about God’s justice. I’ve known for some time that His justice is different from my own idea of what being just is. It is something that I care about though and want to learn more about. This blog is just a stream of my thoughts as I continue to read and study on this subject. Forgive me that it may seem incomplete, but it is just as my life in Christ, a work in progress. 🙂
Both are very real. Both are part of mankind’s destiny. One we tend to avoid thinking that the other is all we really need. We tend to treat them as if they were on opposing sides. Yet,I don’t see how you can have one without the other. They are not the same, but they work together for our good. Both require humility to accept.
Judgment points to the need of mercy. Mercy is as only effective as impending judgement is realized. If a man fully aware of what he truly deserves, knowing what judgement calls for, he is also fully aware of the extent to which mercy saved him. Once having that understanding, he walks in humble gratitude. This humble gratitude enables us to extend mercy to those around us living in sin or even are in offense to us personally. At first they may not realize the judgement that convicts them, but I be they are fully aware of the mercy shown.
Just as judgement points to mercy, mercy as well points to judgement. I think sometimes we mistake mercy for forgiveness. Not that it doesn’t involve that, but it isn’t just that. If we do not point to justice and just forgive quietly, then is that really merciful? Wouldn’t mercy consist of pointing out to God’s impending judgement on our fellow man so that they have a chance to repent? Mercy is more than just being nice and sweet. It is facing the uncomfortable facts that if a person doesn’t repent and run to God, they will ultimately face hell. It is addressing that fact. It is more merciful to point out a person’s behavior as detrimental to their eternity and to a life without God than it is to simply overlook the sin and simply be nice to the sinner. However, we can never point to judgement to others without our own self assessment as to what may keep us from God ourselves. Once again, both need to humility to accept and I don’t think it’s ever a one time deal, but a life of walking in the ebb and flow of judgement and mercy.
“Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful. That is the important paradox. As there are plants which will flourish only in mountain soil, so it appears that Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice.” ~ C.S. Lewis, God in the Docks