Someone gave Lee and me a childrearing book by a highly respected Christian man. We read much of it together a few nights ago. Although he states many accurate biblical truths, there were some problematic statements. The first was that patience, kindness, and mercy are not appropriate to show when justice should be meted out. In other words, mercy and justice are not compatible for a Christian.
Aren’t you glad that God didn’t read this childrearing book? Every time we come to Him in humility, he responds with outpouring of grace and mercy.
Here are some more verses that indicate God can indeed be perfectly just, and at the same time extend mercy to us.
If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? Psalm 130:3
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:8-11 (This whole chapter is worth pondering. It is wonderful!)
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:35-36
The absence of mercy from Christian childrearing books seems significant to me. Even if we don’t agree on when to show mercy, shouldn’t we say something about it? God clearly shows mercy to us as a father, and we are clearly commanded to show mercy to others. Maybe our collective, cultural (fundamentalist) wisdom missed this one.