Saturday, December 27, 2008

Justice, Mercy, and Faithfulness

Matthew 23 is the chapter that contains the 7 woes. Verses 23&24 say:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

The tenth was something I heard about at MFC all the time.  Tithes were by far the most important thing at that church. You ask me why do I say that?  Because it was what they harped on every week.  They may miss doing an alter call, but God forbid they should miss doing tithes and offering. 

Faithfulness was talked about at MFC, more specifically faithfulness to the pastor. But the pastor did not show faithfulness.  He turned his back on people in a heartbeat if they did not give him total submission.

Justice was something that didn't happen there.  In fact, the lack of justice exposed to many people, how rotten the foundation of that church was becoming.

They give mercy much lip service at MFC, but the reality is they don't actually offer mercy unless it is for the pastor and his family.  

Our faithfulness should be to God first and foremost. But I would not say that the church or the pastor of a given church would be second on that list.  Your pastor is not a stand-in for God. You should not allow a man to stand in that place, because he will disappoint you.  

Justice and Mercy may seem like polar opposites, but they are not.  Both of these must be carried out in love.  And both can and should happen together.  Justice involves someone else who has been wronged.  It is to show that they are the victim and every effort should be made to correct the situation as best as it can be. Mercy is for the person who has wronged and is used to help restore that person.  This is not to say there are no consequences, for there are. But mercy gives them a path to follow that can help to prevent a recurrence of destructive behavior.