Mercy and justice can be viewed as two separate virtues. While justice seeks resolution, mercy seeks forgiveness. This paper will discuss justice in today’s society, mercy’s role in the justice system, and God’s mercy and justice. According to dictionary. com, justice is “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause. ” The virtue demands that people have equal rights and opportunities. Everyone, from the poorest person to the wealthiest deserves an even playing field.
From a political point of view one can say justice is equal rights. However, the law does not necessarily mean justice. According to an article “Wit or Wisdom, the law, or justice, dictates that we all deserve hell forever. We are sinners and a stench in the nose of God” (Beckmann, 2007). This shows that while law is supposed to be right and just and true, it is not always, and there are exceptions to many rules. Is justice fair all of the time? In its narrower sense, justice is fairness.
For example, in the article “Justice Versus Fairness,” Maiese says, “… justice is fairness. It is action that pays due regard to the proper interests, property, and safety of one’s fellows… The principles of justice and fairness can be thought of as rules of “fair play” for issues of social justice… Social justice requires both that the rules be fair, and also that people play by the rules” (2003). Maiese says that justice is fairness and that society requires both that the rules be fair, and also that people play by those rules.
Mercy is often considered as an important virtue. According to dictionary. com, mercy is “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner. ” However, mercy is not the matter of being nice and it is also does not mean the same thing as sympathy. For example, in article called Mercy vs. Justice on about . com, it says … mercy entails that something less than justice be one.
If a convicted criminal asks for mercy, he is asking that he receive a punishment that is less than what he is really due. ” This shows that mercy isn’t always being nice and showing pity, it is just giving a less punishment. When a Christian begs God for mercy, he or she is asking that God punish him or her less than what God is justified in doing. Mercy is not the opposite of justice, “one would determine that mercy lies between the vices of cruelty and uncaring, while justice lies between the vices of cruelty and softness” (About.
com). However, they are still not the same because if mercy is used to often or in the wrong situations, it can damage itself. For instance, if a criminal asks for mercy and gets a lesser sentence than what his or her original sentence was, when he or she gets out of jail, they would eventually go and commit another crime again and have another chance of getting away without paying the proper price for their punishment. That is why justice is needed because a good and working society requires presence of justice.
However, mercy is required because “we all need mercy ourselves,” according to A. C. Grayling. The writers of the Bible wrote a significant amount of material about two characteristics of God: mercy and justice. An example of God’s mercy would be … “His merciful sacrifice and eternal presence allow us to talk with the Father (1 John 2:1; Hebrews 7:27), and through Christ we receive God’s mercy (Isaiah 53:4-6; 1Timothy 1:2; 1 Peter 1:3). ” (Colley, 2004) This shows that we gain God’s mercy through Christ’s merciful sacrifice and eternal presence.
When showing the Ten Commandments to Moses, God stated both his mercy and justice. For example in Exodus 20:4-7 God shows his mercy and justice, “No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don't bow down to them and don't serve them because I am God, your God, and I'm a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me.
But I'm unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments. No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won't put up with the irreverent use of his name. This shows that just as God’s mercy continues to exist, the justice of God similarly is not limited. God is still serious about people serving Him, and about the consequences for people who choose not to serve Him. According to Colley the justice and mercy of God have never contradicted each other. In fact, our perfect Creator balances the two qualities masterfully.
If that were not true, the psalmist would not have been able to proclaim, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face” In conclusion, mercy and justice can coexist because you can pursue justice and mercy at the same time but giving to much mercy can be a problem. That is why one needs justice to keep things balanced. Works Cited Agnosticism/Atheism. (2006).
Retrieved September 9, 2010, from About. com: http//atheism. about. com/library/FAOs/phil/blphil. eth.mercyjustice. htm Beckmann, H. (2007, September 22). Justice and Mercy. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from witorwisdom. wordpress. com: http://witorwisdom. wordpress. com/2007/09/22/justice-and-mercy/ Colley, C. (2004). God's Mercy and Justice. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from Apologetics Press Web site: http://www. apologetic. org/articles/print/1860 Tersigini, D. (2005). An Essay on Justice. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from www. thealmightyguru. com: http//www. thealmightyguru. com/Knowledge/Docs/Justice. html