How Do I Show Mercy?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Justice is important to God (Isaiah 61:8) and the Bible says that we are to seek justice but love mercy. Obtaining vengeance, He says, is His task, not ours (Romans 12:19). How can we balance seeking justice with loving mercy?
When we experience or hear of a crime committed, we rightly want justice. Yet we often define justice as solely punishment. Punishment focuses on the past, often producing shame, bitterness and a “prohibitive conscience,” which is a conscience that keeps of us from doing something wrong solely to avoid pain. We do not often stop to think of mercy or the fate of the wrongdoer beyond their punishment.
Punishment is motivated by anger, which can be just, but love should drive how we view and interact with those who hurt us. As Chip Ingram put it, “It makes no sense for me to fellowship with God on the basis of mercy and with [others] on the basis of judgment.”  Mercy and love work toward future restoration, not abandonment of wrongdoers in isolation where they cannot move beyond punishment. The follower of Jesus is called to restorative justice and mercy, and this only happens in relationship. In relationship, we can correct wrongs, mirroring the restorative justice, mercy and relationship God has so graciously and freely extended to us.
Resource reading: Romans 12:9-21
 Ingram, Chip. “Punishment Versus Discipline.” Focus on the Family, August 8, 2019. https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/punishment-versus-discipline/.