THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
MERCY AND JUSTICE
Mercy and justice go together. There can be no true mercy
if there is no justice. Mercy is freely given by God, but
one has to accept that mercy. Mercy is always an invitation
to repentance. “Come now, let us set things right, says
the Lord: though your sins be like scarlet, they may become
white as snow” (Is 1:18a). If one refuses to repent,
then the justice of God kicks in, with the attendant punishment
that mercy would have forgone. “But if you refuse and
resist, you shall be eaten by the sword” (Is 1:20a).
is justice? It is giving to the other person what is his due.
God is due awe and worship. “Those who offer praise
as a sacrifice honor me” (Ps 50:23a).
To Jesus is due his proper place in our life and service,
and not usurping that place. “As for you, do not be
called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher”
(Mt 23:8a). “Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Messiah.” (Mt 23:10).
To the poor and oppressed is due relief and help. “Make
justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s
plea, defend the widow.” (Is 1:17b).
To fellow human beings is due respect and not being subject
to slander and deceit. “You give your mouth free rein
for evil; you yoke your tongue to deceit. You sit and speak
against your brother, slandering your mother’s son.
When you do these things should I be silent? Do you think
that I am like you? I accuse you, I lay out the matter before
your eyes.” (Ps 50:19-21).
To servant leaders is due submission and obedience. They
are there as appointed by God to care for His flock. “Therefore,
do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you”
(Mt 23:3a). This is for the sake of the life and mission
of the body, and for there to be peace and unity. Unfortunately,
there are those servant leaders who are not good examples
to the flock. Jesus then says, “do not follow their
example. For they preach but they do not practice.”
(Mt 23:3b). In other words, follow the good things they
say but do not follow the bad example they show.
To subordinates of servant leaders is due pastoral care
and accompaniment. It is not for leaders to be like the
scribes and Pharisees who “tie up heavy burdens hard
to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they
will not lift a finger to move them.” (Mt 23:4). Servant
leaders teach about righteousness, holiness and Christian
perfection, which are all heavy burdens hard to carry and
live out. They should then also pastor, counsel, encourage,
explain, journey with, charitably rebuke, and intercede
To ourselves is due the salvation won for us by Jesus on
the cross. “I will let him whose way is steadfast
look upon the salvation of God.” (Ps 50:23b). Jesus
has already shown mercy. We respond with justice, obeying
God’s commands and avoiding sin. “Wash yourselves
clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease
doing evil; learn to do good.” (Is 1:16-17a).
Practicing justice in the ways above enables us to become
agents of God’s mercy.