Something that has come back to me again and again in past weeks is this great scripture in the book of Alma:
24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also amercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.
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30 O my son, I desire that ye should deny the ajustice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his bmercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in chumility.
Firstly, it stemmed from listening to a individual (who from what I can tell, had some underlying personal issues affecting this position) speaking of basically this same thing but only in the context of 'mercy cannot rob justice'.... and thus, those who choose wrongly deserve to be shunned, and deserve their misery. That justice will...in the words of Jafar "have it's reward". That someone who leaves the church simply must have not been trying hard enough. What I believe to be one of the most beautiful and attractive aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that justice and mercy work hand in hand. The funny thing was as I was listening to her I kept remembering this video we sometimes used as missionaries called The Mediador...or Mediator. A parable of sorts that included a Christlike character stepping in and paying a debt on the condition that the individual in trouble live up to his side of the bargain and pay the debt in time ie: learn from the mistake. The line, mercy cannot rob justice and neither can justice exist without mercy. We are all subject to justice. The justice of God through the Atonement that was a merciful act. The patience that God has with us as we struggle to overcome imperfections. The justice of temporal laws that we are innocent until proven guilty. That we are all subject to a fair trial. When it is spoken of that the establishment of our country was inspired, I believe that to be true. I do not believe the founders to be prophets, or perfect men, many were far far from. But that does not mean they could not be influenced by the virtues of God. Charity and justice and yes even mercy. The Mercy I have seen as of late with the tragedy in Haiti as so many countries came to their aide is beautiful. The mercy of so many denominations, non profits, that are funded through donations and grants. In a society were we are relying increasingly on our 'things' we still manage to recognize when we need to sacrifice for others.
This is something that I need to be better at. Not judging the circumstances of those begging for money on the street. Do I know that they will do something productive with that money? No, but I know that I may have helped. There is the mercy, and justice will do its part. I believe in this as well as in social programs in our country, in moderation. I think a small amount of welfare is good, as long as it is doing good and not perpetuating poverty or reliance. I think the programs in our country need to be revised, modeled after those nonprofits and churches that teach a man to fish. Nonprofits that I have seen firsthand that struggle, even with government grants and the generosity of individuals, to make a dent. I don't have a problem with some of my taxes allocated for these things. As long as the population as a whole are given the opportunity to vote on it. To elect officials that they trust (as much as one can). And when we don't like how they have used that trust, we have the opportunity to elect someone new. An imperfect system but one where get some sort of voice nevertheless.
I love the justice of our country that allows that terrorists get the right to a fair trail as difficult as that is for some of us. To make sure that they are judged fairly and not lumped in with those who do truly heinous things.
We are all held accountable by justice, whether that be the loss of association with those we have treated poorly, bad habits throwing us into dire circumstances, or sin separating from the full light of Christ. But justice allows us to work hard to overcome the mess we have made for ourselves and mercy allows us a little help, fellowship, light, and love along the way.
Didn't mean to make this political....but.....whatever your political philosophy, we would all be good to make this part of our personal philosophy. However we exercise it in our lives. To be merciful and just-hand in hand.