Justice vs. Mercy

This is from last April.  I still haven’t seen Noah.

 

I was listening to an interview this week with Darren Aronofsky, the director of the new film, Noah, a film which has been fairly successful at dividing believers.  I know, sometimes not that difficult a thing to do. Aronofsky said that what he tried to show in his film is the struggle between justice and mercy.  That when the scriptures say Noah was a righteous man, not a good man, but a righteous man, that that’s the definition of righteous that the film makers used.  Someone who finds a balance between justice and mercy.

And that’s tricky enough in itself, but when other people get involved.  When we’re speaking out on behalf of justice, and some bleeding heart is all about the mercy.  Or when we think somebody needs mercy, and some hard-nosed old grump is shouting for justice.  It’s a tough balance knowing when to speak up about one or bite our tongue about the other.

This whole Christian walk, if we are doing it right, I think, is soooo difficult this way.  We stand up for what we think is right, and that hurts people who we love who are doing the same thing, but from the other side.   I have students who are preparing to be silent on April 11, next Friday, in solidarity with those who feel they have to remain silent to avoid bullying and harassment.  And that’s going to stir up trouble.  And people on both sides of the issue, in doing or saying what they think is right, are going to hurt people. People they love, or people they know they are supposed to love.

God knows that balance is tough.   God knows it’s a struggle.  God’s been there.  The flood story starts with god’s justice, and it ends with god’s mercy.  When justice was required on our behalf, god, through Christ, offered us mercy.  We didn’t deserve it. Getting what we deserve would have been justice. 2 Corinthians says:  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them (Justice). And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation (mercy).

So I encourage you, when we’re dealing with people this week, those dumb annoying people who don’t see things the way we do, yep, that one you’re thinking of right now, and we find that balance difficult to maintain, maybe we can remember that our message is one of reconciliation.  Maybe we can remember god’s mercy towards us.  And maybe, if we lose our balance, we can land, as god did, in a place that offers his mercy and reconciliation to others.

Amen.

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