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Justice and Mercy

Posted by Chance on January 16, 2008

When people on the left talk about helping the poor, they often use the term social justice. I’m not sure I’m crazy about the term. Not because it’s justice that people starve, but it does imply a bit of entitlement. Also, if everything is about justice, there is no room for mercy.

Many Christians, of any political stripe, believe that the true actions that change the world are those that go beyond what is required. The problem with a highly regulated economic system is that there is less room for voluntary actions. Liberals and conservatives alike believe that charity is great. Liberals will argue that charity does not do enough, therefore more government action is needed. However, people such as myself believe that more government action pushes out private charity. I think it does so in terms of resources and also opportunities.

Concerning the resources, I’m not naive enough to believe that if only we were taxed less, more people would necessarily be generous . At the same time, however, I believe that people who are generous will be all the more so with their resources. Also, one just has to look at the math. Tax rates of 90% will leave less room for charitable donations. Heck, how would someone give their tithe (if they do the 10% – but I don’t think there is a specific number God requires) if 10% is all they have left?

Also, Christianity is all about doing beyond what is required and what is expected. When we have a system where all good deeds are required, there is less room and opportunity to do beyond what is required. There are many people who take Jesus’ commands to help the poor seriously, but they look to do so primarily through government means. Every good deed is done out of “justice”, and there is little room for mercy. Deeds that transform the world are done out of love an mercy.


One Response to “Justice and Mercy”

  1. Neil said

    “When we have a system where all good deeds are required, there is less room and opportunity to do beyond what is required.”

    Well said, Chance!

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