Tuesday, May 31, 2016

When Mercy Becomes a Man Eating Weed

Here is a quote I first read and loved many years ago. It's from C. S. Lewis about mercy and justice. It's taken from an essay called "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment". Reading the whole essay helps in understanding the quote. And though his examples relate to the justice system, the principle is true in all situations. What I get from it is that there is a sternness that can save and a niceness that is capable of destroying the very one it purports to help. Mercy and Justice are linked together. The Plan of Salvation promises both and because of that we can have faith that ALL things will be made RIGHT in the end - WHATEVER that may mean. There is right and wrong and we're better off when we know the difference rather than going through life unable to see "things as they really are" (Jacob 4:13). There WILL BE a judgement bar, a time to make an account. The law of the harvest demands that we WILL reap what we sow. It can't be any other way. Without it faith is vain.

Love is the constant that makes both justice and mercy work. It is Christlike love that loves the sinner but doesn't condone the sin or the wrong behavior and instead teaches the way to happiness.

"Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful. That is the important paradox. As there are plants which will flourish only in mountain soil, so it appears that Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice; transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed, all the more dangerous because it is still called by the same name as the mountain variety. "

Link to the whole essay: https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/IssuesInReligionAndPsychotherapy/article/viewFile/273/272

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