Real Justice Prefers Mercy

Posted on January 15, 2016 in Justice

Real justice prefers mercy

In my last post, I said the reason to extend mercy to anyone is to restore relationship. I also said that real justice can only exist when the consequences of wrongdoing are preserved.

Contradiction? Conundrum?

Criminal wrongdoing, civil disputes, and abuse of power are all fractures of “right” relationships. Chris Marshall, author of The Little Book of Biblical Justice, asserts that justice is a relational reality:

“If justice is a personal attribute of God, and if human beings as God’s image bearers are called to emulate God’s justice in the way they live with one another in community, then it follows that justice is all about relationships.”

Real justice, then, cannot be concerned only with pronouncing judgment. In Jesus, God made it possible for mercy to triumph over judgment. Whoever believes Jesus is the Son of God and that His death on the cross satisfied God’s judgment over sin receives the mercy of eternal salvation.

Real justice prefers mercy, but it is not automatic. If you don’t believe Jesus’ death satisfies God’s judgment for your sins (present tense intentional), then you’ve rejected God’s offer.

We have a choice—always. And our choices reap consequences, either blessing or destruction. It’s the law of sowing and reaping, as much a law of the universe as are gravity and the speed of light.

So how does the reality of divine justice apply to pluralistic, secular societies? How are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God to operate within them to do justice and love mercy? How does God want secular government leaders to administer justice? How can citizens trust governments run by flawed people?

I don’t have that answer, but here’s a clue. I came across an article from the New Yorker the other day about President Obama’s impact on the federal judiciary. Asked to name the best Supreme Court decision of his tenure, he said it was the decision on same-sex marriage, because the Court allowed the political process to go forward, one state at a time. The president said the ruling “was a consequential and powerful signal of the changes that have taken place in society and that the law is having to catch up.”

I don’t know about you, but I find hope in that statement. The societal push to change the definition of marriage moved government. Which means government can be moved again. I don’t agree with the result, but I conclude from the president’s assessment that government of the people, by the people, and for the people is very much alive.

The question is, which people?

I can’t remember our nation being more divided in my lifetime than it is now. That is, if I believe everything I see and hear and read in the sources of information available to me.

Here’s where we may part company, dear reader.

There is one Source of information I choose to trust in.

The Lord God Almighty.

He has already defeated evil, death, and judgment. He has made provision for whoever chooses to accept His Son to be a world changer. In the end, whether people step up and use what they’ve been given or not, He wins.

But He made it possible for the yeast of His Kingdom to overwhelm the yeast of politics and religiosity. To overwhelm the darkness with His bright light.

Americans have a unique privilege in all the world—a system that enables government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The rule of the Kingdom of God and of His Christ can flourish anywhere, but we Americans have a government system more conducive to host it than any other nation on earth.

In the Kingdom of God, mercy triumphs over judgment. Citizenship in his Kingdom is available to all. Only believe, and it’s yours. Then you’re equipped with everything you need.

How much that happens, before He comes to settle everything, is up to us.