JESUS SAID THAT THE WAY through all difficulties was walking the path of mercy, justice, and humble cooperation with the Source of this world’s life. . If we walk that way, Jesus promises, even now the kingdom can be “at hand,” so close we can taste “the powers of the age to come” (Heb. 6:5), the time of full and complete triumph.
– Robert Corin Morris
Provocative Grace: The Challenge in Jesus’ Words
When I first heard the news, I was burning with anger! How could this happen? What happened to protecting and giving children a safe environment where they can play and grow? I felt crushed. I was speechless.
Last Saturday, sitting through the training by Protect and Save the Children already evoked feelings and memories of stories heard or hinted. Then later I had a conversation with someone who brought to my attention how the powers who are responsible for protecting our children have not shown true commitment to carry their promises through. And now, the news of a little one invaded, violated and crushed in a most horrible way was too much to bear . . . what if I’m the parent or family member holding her now? What should we do? What on earth is wrong with this world?
The path of mercy is not pity, it’s not saying, “How fortunate it’s not happening to me?” It’s not just trying to ignore it and get on with the day. I think something is seriously wrong with me if I can blot the monstrosity out of my mind. The path of mercy means I not only will face the mixed feelings which has been evoked, it means I will look beyond myself to feel with those who are hurting, those who are in pain. It’s not from a position of power or privilege, it’s taking the pain seriously . . . even shouldering the pain if possible.
The path of justice is not senseless retaliation, it’s hard to even think about what revenge looks like right now. But the evil must not be swept under the carpet. Evil must be confronted. There’s no excuse. We must not hide and evade our responsibilities. People must be held responsible. Trust is broken. The one who has chosen to hurt the vulnerable one must be brought to justice. The question of forgiveness is not ignored, but it is not cheapened either. The process is going to be painful and even long. No one can dictate how another can or should respond. Whether it’s the victimizer or the survivor. It’s a mess, so to put things right is going to take a lot of effort and time. God help us and guide us.
The path of humility is not pretending to be what we are not, it’s digging deeper into the resources available within us or outside of us to step back and discern what’s next. It’s surrendering our feeble attempts in walking the paths of mercy and justice, stumbling forward and learning to pick ourselves up again. It’s dealing with the anger. It’s confronting the hate and blame. It’s working through the emotions. It’s reexamining our thoughts and actions. It’s not walking alone. Whether we need a hand to hold us, or clinging on to the humble king our God who’s a God of justice and mercy and in our weakest moment, even to be carried by Him.
The story is not over yet, the final chapters are yet to be written. We will get there somehow . . . one day.