The cross was the greatest social injustice in history, but no greater act of mercy has been recorded for mankind and the world.
Most of us, when confronted with the injustice of the world want to act. This is a very Christian thing to do and one could say “un-Christian” to not do. But, what about the words we use? I thought I would open up a conversation that might be a bit controversial to some, but I think words and our use of them matters. Semantics, I know, but does not “social mercy” sound more Christian than “social justice”? Let’s discuss a bit.
Let me explain. Social justice assumes our role is to dispense justice as if it is something we can on our own arbitrate. Social mercy means we are to give mercy, which we clearly see modeled in Jesus. God is the arbiter, and we work under His divine design to provide mercy to a world in need of forgiveness and redemption.
Micah 6:8 says to “do justice and love mercy” so justice is surely part of the equation. But, does it make sense that when we say justice we are not pronouncing a love for mercy? I know, just semantics.
Nowhere are the words of Jesus filled with telling us to be dispensers justice, but Christ does say “blessed are the merciful” and lived a life that gave hope to the poor and forgiveness to sinners who brought injustice on those poor, including the tax collector in his gang. Jesus lived mercy. He is justice.
I am just trying to dialog a bit about how we come across or approach evil in our world. Fighting injustice or giving mercy–one is militant the other is grace-oriented. We need to fight, but who is our real enemy? My solution would be to say “justice and mercy” ministries rather than leaving it just as “justice.” Or, “compassion” ministries.