Today’s Blog: Finding the Right Balance
TODAY’S PROVERB: Whoever pursues righteousness and mercy finds life, prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21, TLV
In our quest for living a righteous life, we can sometimes hyper-focus on our works and internal examinations. So much so that when we look around us we’re appalled at others’ behaviors. Which can then make us critical and judgmental.
I love how this proverb reminds us to have a more balanced approach to our faith journey by including mercy in our pursuit of righteous behavior.
Mercy is defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” Hmm. Feels a bit clinical. So how do we practically pursue mercy?
I came across some quotes that helped me define mercy in relation to justice and righteousness. Hope they’ll be an encouragement to you, too.
C.S. Lewis said, “Mercy detached from justice grows unmerciful.” In other words, without the verdict of “guilty,” mercy becomes a pass for sin. Before mercy can be shown, the sin/wrong needs to be clearly recognized with repentance. Subsequently, mercy empowers our faith journey.
Edmund Spenser said, “Who will not mercy unto others show? How can he mercy ever hope to have?” In other words, our Heavenly Father first showed us mercy, how can we not show mercy to others?
Joyce Meyers said, “Mercy is the stuff you give to people who don’t deserve it.” No explanation necessary.
Giving mercy . . .
My favorite quote is by Pastor E. H. Chapin, “The unmerciful man [or woman] is most certainly an unblessed man. His sympathies are all dried up, he is afflicted with a chronic jaundice, and lives timidly and darkly in a little narrow rat-hole of distrust.” Okay, it’s harsh, but I love the imagery.
When all we care about is righteous behavior, we become self-righteous and judgmental. Our world shrinks into a small and rigid stone. Our need for righteous behavior at the expense of love will suck the life out of those around us. Not a good thing.
The pursuit of mercy balances our quest for righteousness and justice. We need the stability. When we have that, we find life, prosperity, and honor. That’s good for me, how about you?