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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Balancing justice, mercy with Godís helpcomment (0)

September 1, 2011

By Jean Roberson


He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8 NKJV)

That verse became very important to me years ago when I was in seminary and first began to think about leadership. Certainly the passage is clear enough. God desires that we act with justice, mercy and humility.

The fact that both justice and mercy are included has always struck me as interesting. Is it possible to act with justice and mercy?

To embrace these characteristics in our leadership and lives is a strength. The problem arises because we each tend to embrace one more than the other. When that happens, our strength is taken to an extreme and becomes our weakness. Our leadership suffers.

For example, do you know someone who expects others to do his or her part? He or she is honest and holds people accountable. However, left unchecked, he or she can become hard and unyielding. He or she can make people feel judged and alienated.

Do you know someone who is compassionate? He or she makes others feel important and heard. However, left unchecked, he or she can be too soft and not hold others accountable. He or she may let deadlines go unmet and have difficulty seeing something through to the end.

Can you see this in parenting? Do you know parents who act with justice but it is taken to the extreme? What about parents who employ mercy to a fault? I sometimes feel like a pingpong ball, alternating one day with justice and the next with mercy!

What about you? Which one are you more comfortable embracing? Are there times when you lean too heavily on one characteristic and it becomes your weakness?

That must be why God called His people to act with both justice and mercy. They can balance each other. Perhaps that is why humility is mentioned as the third characteristic.

Sometimes I have difficulty knowing when to act with justice and when to act with mercy. I actually can remember times when I have been in situations at work and wondered to myself if I should respond with justice or mercy.

I truly believe it is only through God’s leadership through His Holy Spirit that we know when to employ justice and when to employ mercy. By humbling ourselves to God’s leadership, we can act appropriately. Then He can lead through us.

A Takeaway Value …
Leadership is a balance of justice and mercy, humbly set before God to employ.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW, is a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives.

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