A discussion between justice, mercy, and wisdom ...
TJ – Truth and justice are paramount.
CM – No, compassion and mercy are more important.
TJ – Compassion and mercy are meaningless without truth and justice!
CM – But truth and justice are incomplete without compassion and mercy!
LW – Stop arguing, you’re both right. Truth without love is shrill, and love without truth is irrational. Like heads and tails of a coin, you need both to have something that’s worth anything.
TJ – Lady Wisdom, do you mean truth and justice aren't enough!?
LW – They are not.. Each person is imperfect and at times falls short of living the truth. In a fallen world, without mercy, the demand for justice can quickly turn into anger, and gradually hatred. Tit for tat retaliation would continue indefinitely.
CM – And you mean mercy and compassion aren’t enough!?
LW – They are not. Without truth, love becomes pure sentiment and emotion. It’s dangerous to call disordered desires for someone ‘love’, which lead to unnatural and harmful behavior. Further, condoning or enabling evil out of misplaced compassion can also be harmful.
TJ – Then how do we solve our problem? These ideas are mutually incompatible!
LW – Wrong. Stop thinking with an either/or mentality. Justice and mercy are the two sides of love, which means they are the two ‘sides’ of God. Notice that God communicates truth and shows compassion, He commands and He forgives. He is the perfect blend of Justice and Mercy. With your limited minds, you tend to overemphasize one side of love at the expense of the other, and see them as mutually exclusive. In politics, the tension of the justice-mercy continuum is often what underlies conservative-liberal differences. On another level, it expresses the masculine-feminine dynamic – humanity’s two complementary perspectives on reality. Love is the perfect balance of justice and mercy, of truth and compassion – for the sake of the good.
TJ – So I need to temper justice with mercy?
CM – And I need to direct mercy to help the contrite get back onto the road of justice?
LW – Yes, to both of you. If you seek the good of others you will be just and merciful. At times the situation will call for admonishing the sinner, other times for prudential silence. Sometimes it will call for tough love, other times soft love. Jesus, who is perfect Justice and Mercy incarnate, warned His disciples numerous times about the fires of hell and told them to forgive individuals 70 times 7 times. Hear what the Master says about love:
“If you love me you will keep my commands… Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father… Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Jn 14:15; Mt 5:44-45, 48).
That perfection includes a harmonious blend of justice and mercy.
You know, contrary to what you may think, it's wise to recognize you two would make a good complementary couple.
TJ – Yes, the truth is you’ve convinced me we need each other.
CM – In my compassion I’ll forgive you both for embarrassing me.