Mercy & Justice
In line with Methodist teaching, acts of mercy are those that respond to immediate needs. This may take the form of direct assistance, such as providing food for those who are hungry. Acts of mercy address the symptoms of various problems. Acts of justice are those that respond to long-term needs. They address root causes. For example, why are people in our community hungry?
What is Mercy? | Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
Mercy without justice risks being condescending and judgmental. Those who have more than others sometimes take a paternalistic view of them, subconsciously blaming them for their circumstances.Jesus taught that he desires mercy, not sacrifice. Following His example, we need to look beyond rigid legal definitions, and practice kindness and compassion with everyone.
Opportunities to Offer Mercy
What is Justice? | The quality of being fair and reasonable; the administration of the law or authority in maintaining it; collective responsibility to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
Justice without mercy can be harsh and unfeeling, often stressing the “letter of the law” rather than the “spirit of the law.” Lacking compassion, justice alone cannot solve the systemic problems facing our world and our community.
Opportunities in Social Justice:
Mercy and Justice | Two Sides of the Same Coin
Justice insists that illicit drug users be brought up on charges; mercy sentences them to rehabilitation instead of incarceration. Mercy moves us to set up programs to help minorities do better in school; justice identifies and ends the systemic biases that cause them to lag in the first place.
Want to be involved? Contact Dianne Edson