Mercy is not a weakness. In fact, justice and mercy are like two sides of the same coin. The idea that mercy is weak is a deception of the devil. The devil has three common tactics he often uses to keep us away from God:
- Pride — He tells us we don’t need God.
- Fear — He tells us God is going to strike you down for what you’ve done.
- Confusion — If he can confuse people, they won’t know the truth and they can’t be free.
If the devil can confuse us regarding what mercy is, he can keep us from showing it. If he can blur the lines between justice and judgmentalism, he can keep us from being just. Mercy and justice have to work together. We have to love the sinner (mercy) but hate the sin (justice).
Fr. Chris offers this analogy. A child wanders onto the road while his parents aren’t looking. A neighbor notices and tells the mother. The mother obviously wouldn’t say, “My child will be OK. Besides, he is having so much fun, and I don’t want to inconvenience him.” No, she runs to the road and swoops up her boy, saving him from danger. Getting her child out of harm’s way is a kind of mercy, but it is also a way of showing the child that he was seriously wrong.
We don’t have to force the Bible upon people to try to get them to see the truth when they are doing something sinful. We have to love them. If we do that, openness to God’s word will come. Many conversions happened in the first days of the Church, before the Bible was even compiled because the word of God was in believers’ hearts and those to whom they witnessed recognized that. Many people were also converted during the plague because Christians tended to the sick when no one else would.
Being present and loving is being merciful. That requires a lot of strength.
Fr. Chris Alar, Director of the Association of Marian Helpers
Father Chris Alar, MIC, is a priest with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Fr. Chris wrote and produced the popular “Divine Mercy 101” DVD and is the author of the soon-to-be released book After Suicide: There is Still Hope for Them and You. He is an international speaker and a regular host and guest on EWTN. He also hosts the online “Divine Mercy Matters” series at DivineMercyMatters.org. Currently he serves as “Fr. Joseph, MIC,” the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, and is the head of Marian Press, located on the grounds of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
For more information about Divine Mercy and Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, visit DivineMercyMatters.org