Do Justice and Love Mercy

by Kari on May 2, 2011

Do justice and love mercy.

Micah 6:8

Osama bin Laden is dead. Do we cheer or mourn?

Justice or mercy? God’s word says both.

I clicked on Facebook to see. A mix. Cheers. Expletives. A Christian warning to not rejoice. One particular post stands out, quiet. A friend who lost a loved one when those towers fell that day. Only two words:

Wow. Justice.

Yes. To so many who lost loved ones that horrific day almost ten years ago it wasn’t national tragedy but personal tragedy.  My own experience is so far from theirs I hardly dare open my mouth. But how are we to respond? Our sacred Scriptures are replete with turning of the cheek and impreccatory psalms.

Do we cheer or mourn?

Justice or mercy? God’s word says both.

In Micah 6:8, the term for “mercy” is chesedh, God’s unconditional grace and compassion. The word for “justice” is the Hebrew term mishpat. According to Tim Keller,

mishpat puts the emphasis on the action, chesedh puts it on the attitude or motive behind the action. To walk with God, then we must do justice, out of merciful love” (Generous Justice, p.3)

We mourn because sin, death, and the grave were never God’s intention. The enemy of our souls seeks to steal, kill, and destroy–And he did much of just that through the life of bin Laden. But our responsibility is to grieve over sin, offer forgiveness, and execute justice.

The death of Osama bin Laden will never bring back all the loved one whose lives were cut short that September day. But we are reminded that we serve a just God. The work of Jesus on the cross is that much more beautiful when we understand the justice of God. We deserve the worst of death but He’s given us the greatest of life.  That grace extends to all who will receive.

I do not rejoice over death. Anyone’s.  But I do rejoice over justice, and we can rest assured that we serve a just and merciful God. As Jeff always says, “God is able to sort all these things out.”

I rejoice that this perpetrator of evil is no longer on the prowl in our world. I mourn over a human soul that was so deceived by the devil and used to carry out his schemes.

But most of all I rejoice in the extravagant grace of Jesus Christ.  He carried out perfect justice once and for all by taking our place on the cross.

That I will celebrate.