Justice vs mercy

We always hear about people who want justice.  The victims of priests and their relatives want justice, to see the priests go to prison.  President Bush wanted Al Qaeda terrorists brought to justice.  When someone gets cut off on the road, they might want justice, like seeing the automotive terrorist get pulled over and ticketed.  Criminal courts are full of people seeking justice.

God demands justice, too.  We must pay for our sins, giving restitution to the offended party, if possible, and possibly doing penance and good works.  If we don’t do enough of those, we will finish it up in purgatory.  The payment for sin is justice.  But God also is infinitely merciful.  We don’t pay God for our sins, really, we pay those we’ve sinned against.  It’s called atonement.  Notice? at one ment.  When we atone for our wrong-doing, we draw closer to be at one with our victim.

Justice is penance and good works.  That’s why the Justice System gives prison time.  That’s why there is definitely a place of purgation.  Mercy is forgiveness.  Mercy asks no questions, it is just total forgiveness.

I once was a terrible sinner to my wife.  I was selfish, did what I wanted, and abused her (no, not physically, I was just a typical husband).  It got to a breaking point, where after I had repented, she was still not ready to forgive me.  An advisor suggested to her that she look to Jesus, in the Divine Mercy portrait, and become mercy, otherwise, our marriage was all but over.  I’ve been giving her justice, though I can never repay her for what I was, and she still has trouble being merciful as Jesus is, but we’re both working on our issues.

Sometimes, when you want justice, pray for the grace to give mercy.


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