Some of you have texted me about the lack of posts. True story, hate got my tongue. The goal of this blog is to infuse love and compassion into the world. I’m working in the trenches so don’t think I’ve abandoned my ideals. Today’s post is a gift from one of my best friends/family/loves, Una Henry.
Please, let her words permeate your brain, she has made me better with every breath.
“He has shown you, O mortal, 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.”
I’m currently sitting in a workshop where someone mentioned that Pope Francis declared that 2017 be a Jubilee Year of Mercy. I have to be honest, I have not noticed a lot of mercy this past year. I found myself wondering why. Why is it so difficult for people to show mercy to one another? This led me to a lot of other questions.
Can there be mercy without justice? What is the definition of justice? What is the definition of mercy? My father used to say that mercy is simply not getting what you deserve. I suppose by that definition, I believe justice to be getting what you deserve. If that is the case, whenever people do wrong to others and there is no justice, who is supposed to show mercy? At what point do those who are wronged receive justice or mercy?
With this in mind, where should mercy begin? Should we begin with mercy or should we begin with justice? Justice has to come from the top down, but where does mercy stem from? Does it start at the top or can anyone show mercy? I feel like it’s also important not to confuse mercy with grace. My dad used to say that if mercy is not getting what you deserve that grace is getting something good that you don’t deserve.
Grace and mercy are supposedly hallmarks of the Christian faith, but I would argue that you cannot have grace or mercy without justice. If there is no justice, how can we show mercy? How do we give grace when there is no place for mercy? Why does the Church constantly preach grace and mercy but never speak about justice? Is there just an assumption that there is justice? How do we help those who ignore the lack of justice to see its importance? I believe justice must come first. And just to be clear, at no point is silence a reflection of justice. When you are silent, you are not acting justly.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement stems from a lack of justice and a cry for mercy. What was the response to this movement? To call it a hate group, to call nonviolent protests riots, to label the movement itself as racist. Do you think this is justice? Do you think it is mercy? Do you think it is grace?
Just because you do not like to feel bad about how your opinions impact others does not mean that your opinions are right. In fact, if you are not willing to examine the ways in which your opinions might be harmful to others you are failing to show mercy. And when you demand that those who are hurting take the time to examine your feelings, you are not acting justly, you are not showing mercy, you are not giving grace.
Doing nothing is easy. Justice, grace, and mercy are work. Are you doing the work?
“Justice is love in public” – Cornell West