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Aug 19, 2006

Love, mercy and justice


During the Fan Into Flame seminar, one of the speakers started his speach by asking us this question: Between God's love and God's mercy, which is the greatest? What do you think? How can we measure God's love and mercy? Both of them are just as great! But on a personal note, I believe that love comes first, mercy second.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour. (John 3:16-17)

The first sentence tells us that God loves us. And [the second sentence] because of His great love for us, He sent His Son so that instead of condemning us, He came to save us - this is mercy. Love is the greatest thing on earth. Love is God Himself! And where there is love, there is mercy also.

"Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him [Peter], "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21-22)

How I wished I have read the reflection for Thursday Gospel reading (Matt 18:21-19:1) earlier so that I would not have given in to anger and unforgiveness. Two weeks ago, I kept on thinking that, since it wasn't my fault (or my parents' fault) why should I (they) leave all the serving ministries? The person who has caused all these 'disaster' should be the one leaving. The person who has caused all kind of 'chaos' should be the one apologising. Getting angry with that person is the right thing to do.

Until I got a wake-up call from God-sent people and read the Gospel reading and reflection for Thursday.

[...] Jesus made it clear that there is no reckonable limit to forgiveness, and he drove the lesson home with a parable about two very different kinds of debts. [...] No offence our neighbour can do to us can compare with our debt to God! We have been forgiven a debt which is beyond all paying; to ransom our debt of sin God gave up his only begotten Son. If God has forgiven each of us our debt, which was very great, we, too must forgive others the debt they owe us.

[...] James says that judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy (James 2:13). Mercy is truly a gift and it is offered in such a way that justice is not negated. Mercy 'seasons' justice as salt seasons meat and gives it flavour. Mercy follows justice and perfects it. To pardon the unrepentant is not mercy but licence. C.S. Lewis, a contemporary Christian author wrote: "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."

If we want mercy shown to us we must be ready to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth is not my style. Thinking about revenge is just torturing my heart and soul. When I told a very good friend through MSN that I've decided to let go of my grudge and resentment towards that person, she immediately said to me, "This is the che-che (sister, translated from mandarin) I know, a good person with a big heart." Wow, what an affirmation!! It felt like an affirmation from the Father, "This is my beloved."

For me, this is a good lesson learnt. My next mission is to work together with Christ; I shall be the love- and mercy-sower, Jesus will be the garderner. And I will patiently wait for the 'fruits' to grow as God showers His blessings on His people.

Inspired by Thursday Gospel reflection in Lectio Divina, a community project of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS) Malaysia.
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