Discipline, Justice, and Mercy

One of my favorite verses is Micah 6:8  “He has shown thee oh man what is good, and what does the Lord require of thee?  But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

For many years I wondered about what it meant to love mercy.  I understand that we are dependent upon the mercy of God.  I understand the idea of a judge showing mercy, but I wondered how I could show mercy.

Some time ago I was meditating on the concept of grace and mercy.   I believe that God opened my eyes to a good working definition of grace and mercy.  Grace is receiving benefits we do not deserve.  Mercy is not receiving penalties that we do deserve.

With this definition in mind I was finally able to apply mercy in my own life and the treatment of others.  If a person treats us rudely, it is normal to be rude back.  They deserve it.  If someone strikes us, it is normal to strike back.  If someone insults us, we insult back.  You get the idea.  The normal way of the world is to repay evil with evil, with a little interest.

Mercy is not repaying evil for evil. ( I Peter 3:9)  It is not following the way of the world, but the way of Christ.

You might ask about discipline.  If people are not punished for their wrong actions, how will they learn, or how will justice be served?

Those are good questions and we must trust that God will help us to understand how and when to apply discipline, justice…or mercy. 

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