Justice or Mercy?

Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Bad things happen in this world.  People conjure up all kinds of evil and hurt others.  Some people go to jail; other times they don’t, even when they should.  We know as Christians that we are supposed to love and forgive, but what about people getting what they deserve?  Is it right for me to want justice?  I feel like maybe I am just supposed to forgive but something in me wants them to pay.  I want to be Christlike and love, but it’s hard.  Justice or mercy? Punishment or forgiveness?  Which is it?

Both.  According to Micah 6:8, the answer is both.  He says to act justly and love mercy.  Wait – how can I do both?  How can I desire justice and mercy at the same time? It seems like if I want to see someone punished then I am not forgiving them.  Friends, this is simply not true.  Forgiveness isn’t a feeling; it is a choice.  I can forgive someone and still expect justice.  I can love mercy and still desire discipline.  But there’s only way way for these seemingly opposite concepts to coexist – humility.

If I am going to genuinely act justly AND love mercy, I have to be walking humbly with my God.  I need an awareness of His grace on my life.  I need to be aware that I, too, deserve to be held accountable for my sins.  And at times, I am.  I face the consequences for the wrong I have done.  But I face them with mercy.  I face them with His forgiveness. I face them with the love of God who will walk me through the mess I have made.  There’s nothing wrong with justice and there’s nothing wrong with mercy… and there’s everything right with walking humbly with your God.

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