Justice or Mercy?

If God is infinitely merciful then why do we often fear His justice? The fact is that we are always confronted, consciously or unconsciously, with the choice between trust and fear, between faith and doubt. We are never exempt from responding to God’s invitations, we are never deprived of God’s help and grace, and we are never so liberated as when we believe in the Truth.

Yesterday, as I was conversing with a friend regarding this or that course of action in a particular situation, she told me quite sincerely that she would be very careful not to offend God in her choice. That was great, I thought, but something in her voice hinted that she had more fear than trust, that God’s justice loomed larger in her mind than God’s mercy. I wasn’t really sure. In any case, I felt, this is not so much an isolated incident as it is (perhaps) a widespread phenomenon. And, in any case, isn’t God’s mercy greater than His justice?

It’s true, in His anger Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple, He preached repentance from sin, He upheld the Ten Commandments, He chided the servant (in the parable) who hid his talent in the ground, “You wicked and slothful servant!”, He set very high standards for His disciples, He warned souls against the eternal fires of hell, He warned His disciples that they would be hated as He was hated, and He required of His followers an “even greater” righteousness (Matthew 5:20).

On the other hand, the Lord went about seeking all those who were lost, forgiving the contrite hearted, commanding us to love our enemies, comforting the afflicted, healing the sick, raising the dead, calling everyone to eternal life, laying His life down for all, and even praying for His executioners while hanging on the Cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

When confronted with God, should we fear His justice or trust in His mercy? Don’t we offend God’s justice when we are presumptuous? And don’t we offend God’s mercy when we are mistrusting? How do we reconcile justice and mercy? And which is greater, God’s justice or His mercy?

4 thoughts on “Justice or Mercy?”

  1. Dear Leba

    So moving. I want to say God’s mercy is more important as imperfect I am. I am alive in his mercy.

    Thank you for your words, wisdom and allowing my spiritual growth.

    Dania

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You raise a very interesting topic of discussion and I’d be very interested to know what others have to say on the topic.

    Thank you for reminding us that God’s mercy is great and ever present and that we can ask Him to look after all our needs, no matter how great or small.

    Emilie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that God is an ever loving God. Therefore His justice must stem from His love for us. I see it necessary as our rule and guide. His mercy also is as great as His love, always present for our refuge and consolation. He Is The Best Parent.

    Janette

    Like

    1. It’s interesting that Saint Faustina said a similar thing: “Mercy is the flower of love. God is love, and mercy is His deed. In love it is conceived; in mercy it is revealed. Everything I look at speaks to me of God’s mercy. Even God’s very justice speaks to me about His fathomless mercy, because justice flows from love.” (Diary 651)

      Like

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