Healthy Relationships: Justice vs. Mercy (Part 1 of 4)

Greetings and welcome to my post. As you know, if you have been reading along, up to this point in 2015 I have been writing each month a 4 part blog for each month focusing on this theme of viewing 2015 as the year of building healthy relationships. My goal has been to invite you to evaluate your most personal and important relationships by finding ways to seek making changes so that you can start to build and participate in having healthy relationships. When you have healthy relationships, life really starts to work in leading to building a better life and a better you.

For this month, I want to focus on this intentional question: Do you want to pursue justice in solving problems or do you want to pursue mercy and grace. When problems come up in a relationship, is it your strategy and focus to try to find ways to seek justice and truth of how to solve relationship problems or is it your intention to try to focus on providing grace and mercy to the person and problem?

So how would you define justice? As you know, this is a big subject and a popular topic in today’s culture. One cannot hear about crimes, shooting, murder, and all levels of breaking the law to day when it comes to this issues of justice. Justice today is not only a legal description but it is also a political discussion in which many people, commentaries, and books are written to discuss justice as it pertains to human life. If someone is killed, the family wants justice done by asking the courts to bring justice in wanting the murderer to be sentenced to life in prison or to be also killed via electric chair or some other form of ending life. Justice says an eye for an eye or a killing for a killing. Justice says you hurt me so I hurt you.

So when we apply this term and description of justice to our most important and personal relationships, we are dealing with the topic of fairness. The legal and political view is asking and wanting some type of fairness to be done. If you steal my car, I want some type of punishment done where not only my car is returned to me but you need to spend a year in prison for intentionally stealing as I am a victim of crime. Justice does not always have to mean fairness or trying to balance out wrong and crimes but for the most part, seeking justice is done to find fair to find a way to balance a wrong by making it right so that the other person also experiences some wrong for the wrong we have been dealt. My car has been stolen, I want a fair justice that says your car has been recovered and given back to you but as a victim, the person who stole your car has now been placed in jail to pay the penalty for breaking the law and suffer the consequences for the wrong.

So to apply justice to your most important and person relationship, you maybe attempting to find and uphold rules, or laws, or morals that you feel are right and true that maybe the other person you are relating to is not living up to your rules, laws or expectations. Justice in marriage for example says you did a wrong, you failed to live up to my expectation or rule, therefore the law is the truth and justice needs to be applied to the way you have hurt me or wronged me or failed me. I will not trust you nor will I relate to you until justice is corrected and served so that you see how important fairness is to me.

Therefore, people who pursue justice are people who like the truth and who like to point out and prove where are wrong has happened and how a wrong needs to be right. Justice people look over at their spouse, their loved one, their family member and they are looking for some type of fairness. So in a family, if one sibling feels another one gets better treatment or has favored privileges, they will protest, attempt to make sense of this favored person and try to find justice or fairness to the situation. If you gave time or privileges to this sibling, than the other way for me to balance out this unfairness or wrong is to demand of you to give me time, favor or privileges so I can balance out the truth of what is or is not fair in the family.

In other words, people who come from a position of justice are always looking for ways to balance out the scales and to make it fair. They are looking for ways to find the truth regarding how the other does like and is their equal amount of this coming this way. So justice says to a spouse, you give time to your friend watching a sporting event, you gave time to your sister regarding a project she needed your help with, and you gave a lot to your boss at work that you have worked overtime. But what about me as I too need time with you and I too demand justice and fairness and truth that I too need something from you and you need to balance out the scales by what you gave to your friend, what you gave to your sister, what you gave as overtime to your boss also needs to be happening to me and for me.

As you can tell, seeking justice from another person as a way for you to make sense or find justice is in forcing and the truth and laying down the law of what is fair. If you give 10 hours to this person, I want 10 hours back. If you gave $100.00 as a gift to this person, I want also a gift of equal weight given to me. As you can tell, seeking justice can create a constant attempt on one’s part to make life fair can only mean you are seeking the relationship through the lens of fairness. Thanks for reading.