Somewhere, I added a day. Oh well…
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt … (Jude 1:20-22 ESV)
I do this ministry — I do all ministry — because I believe in mercy.
To be merciful, for me, is to not use power against someone when you could, to not take advantage, or exercise privilege. Mercy is simple — it is sharing, it is inviting, it is including, it is surrendering. I feel I am not communicating this well. Mercy is when I deserve or have earned something punitive, or merely because I breathe and I am viewed to be in the way, or inconvenient, or troublesome, and I am not dismissed, or belittled, or abused, or ignored.
I have not seen a lot of justice in my life. I admit, I do not understand justice. Not really. Justice is, for me, a form of vengeance. I don’t get to have vengeance on those who have hurt me, no recompense. The wrongs done to me don’t ever get made right. And I have seen too many people I love, whose lives matter to me, hurt with impunity, and so the call of others, their demands, for a just world … confuses me. Even angers me. Why do you get to demand justice when I don’t?
No, I don’t understand justice. People hurt me, and they pay no price, bear no consequence. Not ever. In fact, hurting me seems to be a form of righteousness. Still, to this day. It has always been that way. My guess is it will always be that way too.
But mercy … mercy I get. I have experienced a lot of mercy in my life. Have had to. Wouldn’t be here, shivering in the cold of Central Washington typing this blog, without it.
I know what mercy looks like.
We wait for mercy. We wait for justice. We wait for a world remade right, where there is no suffering, no evil, no sorrow.
Until then, sometimes the best we can be is the mercy we wait for. To love and accept others as we wish we’d been loved and accepted. To reach out, to say “you are not alone.” It is, I admit, in the face of cruelty and brutality and horrific violence, not a lot.
But nothing else makes sense as I wait.