When does Understanding become Injustice? When does Compassion become Weakness?
As Followers of the Way of the Cross we learn that we are to turn the other cheek, to not repay evil for evil, to extend grace and to even love our enemies: all because this is how the Heavenly Father relates to us and therefore this is what it means to be holy as He is holy (Matthew 5:38-48).
So we purpose in our hearts to honor the Imago Dei in our fellow Man (Genesis 1:26). We purpose to not treat those who have hurt us as monsters because even broken they still bear the imprint of the Divine Nature.
It is here where we find the perennial concern of how society punishes criminals firmly rooted. Here where we see the desire of the Faithful to honor the redemptive impulse of the New Man (Ephesians 4:24). Here where love becomes action as we exercise self-restraint so that we might understand and be filled with compassion for those whom we might at first be disinclined against (James 1:19-20).
But when does this miss the mark? When do we go from honoring Adonai with our Compassion to dishonoring Him by perpetuating Injustice?
For make no mistake about it, while Adonai is most certainly a gracious judge, He is still Judge none the less. Righteousness is just as much a part of His Holiness as love is and Punishment is just as much a part of His message as Redemption (John 16:7-11).
Evil must be punished for if it is not then there is no Justice, no legitimate hope for fairness in the scheme of things, no reason for moral responsibility of any kind, no basis for any of the Commandments other than the egotistical ranting of an insane cosmic denizen.
Therefore, since we know that justice can not be divorced from love… How do we know when we have crossed the line, replacing self-awareness with social blindness, being more concerned with soothing our ego than with struggling against suffering?
The watershed moment happens when we abandon the plumb line of the Judeo-Christian Scripture. It happens when we begin to elevate our own feelings and ideas over the divine revelation. It happens when we begin to rationalize those choices which Adonai clearly condemns, as being unavoidable or worse, acceptable. It happens when we chose to justify what breaks the Heart of our Heavenly Father and thus make it possible for those in Rebellion to never have to seek His forgiveness and justification (Romans 1:16-32).
For the Follower of the Way of the Cross true compassion, true understanding recognizes that where evil persists so also does suffering and injustice. We can not extend pardon to evil without also extending approval for its consequences. We can not justify a Villain without silencing their Victims and perpetuating their villainy.
For the Follower of the Way of the Cross true compassion, true understanding recognizes that evil needs to be redeemed, but that this redemption is not the work of Man, it is the work of Adonai through the blood of Yeshua’s Cross.
He is the Redeemer, He is the Reconciler, He is the Restorer, He is the Advocate. Only in Him do Righteousness and Love mingle without violating Justice or Compassion.
So let us extend Grace to the Broken while we speak the Truth in Love. Not one or the other, but both. Our conversations may become harder, perhaps even uncomfortable, but the end result will be Life and Liberty and Virtue.
“For the Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth were revealed through Jesus Christ.”
~ John 1:17 ~