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Mercy

Let's start with a fun list of opposites, skipping the usual favorites like hot and cold, and day and night. Instead here's a handful of spectacular rivalries.
  •  Adobe and Apple
  • Young Living and DoTerra
  • McDonald's and Burger King
  • Pepsi and Coke
  • BYU and Utah
  • TX Longhorns and OU
  • Mercy and Justice
Today my thoughts are on justice. Recently I took my girls to the dentist. My youngest doesn't love to brush or floss her teeth, she loves sugar, and hadn't been to the dentist in almost two years. After hearing good news that went something like, "Yay, good job everything is looking good..." Five minutes later I learned that there's six cavities with two more teeth that need silver caps and it will cost over $800 to fix everything. I was so miffed! Why get my hopes up before looking at an x-ray, and send them crashing down to earth after seeing the details more clearly? 

When I die and go to heaven, I hope justice is Nothing like what I just experienced: I thought everything was fine, only to be told that there's a ton of holes to fill and it's going to be slightly painful and very expensive.   aaaaaahhhhhh

Maybe thoughts of the final judgment are a bit premature since my daughter is only six. But I know a lot of people who have lost loved ones this year. There have been more funerals this year than any other year of my life. So I'm thinking about weighty stuff like mercy and justice.

When Jesus taught the people in the New Testament sitting by the Sea of Galilee, it went something like this: 

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." (Matthew 5)

I'm stopping after this verse about mercy. Why didn't Jesus say something like, "Blessed are the just?" This has been in my thoughts for a few days now. God is filled with justice and mercy, but in our daily walk, in our interactions with fellow humans, we need mercy. 

It's super easy to get angry over small things. It's super easy to be mad at the dentist for telling me the truth. It's super easy to be frustrated over the plethora of things I can't fix. What I need when I'm driving in bad traffic is for other drivers to be careful and extend mercy to other people on the road. The police will measure out justice for those who break the rules. When I'm shopping at the store, I need mercy from the customers and clerks. Justice comes from the cashier when she gives me my total bill. When I'm at church, I really don't want any justice at all. I need mercy from the men who represent the Lord, and mercy from Jesus Christ himself. At the end of the day, when I'm kind and compassionate and merciful to those around me, I hope that I receive that same measure of mercy in return. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

There's a fantastic sermon in Alma 42:25
"What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God." 

After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, "We see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.

And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also." v 14-15

v 23 "Mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement." Let's change the Old English and say it in a simpler way. Mercy claims the penitent, and mercy comes because of Jesus Christ.

What does penitent even mean? This painting by Gerard van Honthorst (early 1600's) is called Saint Peter Penitent." I love the expression in his eyes. He looks truly sorry.



Here's Mary Magdalene by Antonio Ciseri. I like this one a lot because she has great hair, and because her posture conveys shame. Whatever her problems are, this woman certainly needs mercy and help. She needs somebody who will care for her, somebody who will care about her, and to be protected. It looks like she's already been humbled, and needs help and kindness a lot more than she needs justice. 



So I return to my original question: Can mercy rob justice? No. But the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is this: Whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come...Alma 42:27


Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, UT


This song by Nathan Pacheco singing "Come as you are" has a fantastic piano and string accompaniment. It's been running through my thoughts for weeks now. It's been running through my fingers as I'm trying to work out a piano arrangement that I like. Maybe even more than the notes and the melody, I need the message of mercy again and again. 

Come out of sadness, from wherever you've been
Come brokenhearted, let rescue begin
Come find your mercy, oh sinner, come kneel
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal

So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame
All who are broken, lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home, you're not too far
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart
Come as you are

There's hope for the hopeless, and all those who stray
Come sit at the table, come taste the grace
There's rest for the weary, rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't cure
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't cure

So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame
All who are broken, lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home, you're not too far
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are

There's joy for the morning, oh sinner, be still
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can't heal

So lay down your burdens, lay down your shame
All who are broken, lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home, you're not too far
So lay down your hurt, lay down your heart
Come as you are

Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are.





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