Justice and Mercy in times of Crisis
I want to thank Dr. Jamie Aten and Kent Annan of Wheaton’s Humanitarian and Disaster Institute (https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/humanitarian-disaster-institute/) for encouraging me to continue writing. I have been neglecting this and feel released by their encouragement.
The goal of JustKindHumility.org is to connect each of us to ways in which we can live as God requires. JustKindHumility looks to Holy Scripture for direction on how to do this. In the ancient Scripture of the prophets, we find God telling his people, in no uncertain terms, that we are to live justly, to have mercy and to practice lovingkindness (Micah 6:8). In Matthew 25, Jesus reaffirms this as he warns his disciples of the final days. Here Jesus clearly explains that we will be judged on how we have treated the least among us (Matthew 25:31-46).
So, in a time of world crisis such as Coronavirus pandemic, how do we live as God requires? What does justice and mercy look like in a world entering a time of challenge and uncertainty?
Only God administers perfect justice. As humans, our justice is always broken. Yet, as Christians, we believe we have been given direction through His Word, power and authority through His Spirit and a perfect example through Christ on how to do this. Justice involves sacrifice. True godly justice sees the broken, the downtrodden, the vulnerable and makes sacrifices. What sacrifices can you make during our world’s coronavirus pandemic? Will you sacrifice social gathering or eating out? Will your business reduce hours or stagger shifts? Pray for God to give you wisdom as you make these decisions.
Is it possible to have too much mercy during a world pandemic? Don’t we need to preserve, store up, fend off, isolate? Our instincts tell us to protect our family, stay home, worry and fret. Once again, in Scripture, Jesus clearly tells us what mercy looks like and how it fits into God’s design for humanity. In Luke 10, Jesus illustrates his message by the story of the Good Samaritan. In this passage, as Jesus teaches fellow Jewish leaders a law expert asks: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus points to Holy Scripture and the Law saying, “What is written? How do you understand it?” The expert deftly quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. “Love God, love your neighbor.” (paraphrased) Jesus affirms this. It sounds simple when Jesus says it, doesn’t it? But how does that apply to this time of world crisis? How do we love our neighbor during a world pandemic where no one is exempt from danger? Once again, we sacrifice. When we place our needs second to others, we are truly practicing loving our neighbors. What might that look like during coronavirus pandemic? It could mean postponing important events of life such as vacations, graduation ceremonies, celebrations or face to face meetings. How can you be praying for God to show you what to sacrifice right now?
In the end of this passage (Matt.10:36-37), the Jewish law expert understood Jesus’ story and summarized: “the neighbor was the one who showed mercy.” Jesus responded, “Go and do likewise.” Mercy and sacrifice; Love and neighbors. Lord, we need your help.
Show us how can we demonstrate mercy to our neighbors. Please help us to know when to sacrifice and when to love. Lord, help us to rely on your Word for direction and your Spirit for illumination as we live through difficult and challenging times. Have mercy on us Lord, we need you now. In Jesus name, Amen.