For instance – if Jesus had said to the woman caught in adultery, “neither do I condemn you” (Jn. 8:3-12) and had said nothing more, the woman would have assumed it was okay to continue on in a sexually immoral lifestyle.
Sexual immorality is unjustifiable behavior that God does not tolerate and is a form of behavior upon which He has pronounced a death sentence (Deut. 22:22-24). Therefore, if the woman in this narrative were to continue walking in sexually sinful behavior it would have resulted in more deadly outcomes in her life.
Here, we need to see that death is actually a separation from God, and includes consequences that manifest, because of that separation. Some manifestations of death may include, broken and pain inducing relationships, financial problems, lost opportunities, and even sickness and disease.
Justice and Truth
However, notice that Jesus added truth – and brought balance to the equation – by saying “go and sin no more.” In challenging the woman to change her lifestyle and walk in behaviors that pleased God, Jesus was implementing true justice. Justice was served because mercy allowed her to be forgiven by God, and to be positioned for a new opportunity to live a God-honoring life.
Jesus helped her step into this new opportunity by giving her direction about how to live a life that is pleasing to God. In going and sinning no more, the women would reap God’s peace, grace, and blessing on a consistent basis.
If, on the other hand, Jesus moved in truth, but without mercy, He would have agreed with the Pharisees about condemning the woman and would have called for immediate payment for her sin. Thus, Jesus would have joined them in stoning her to death. However, justice without mercy falls far short of God’s idea of true justice. Without mercy as a vital part of the equation, true justice will never be served.
Truth, without mercy to bring balance, can only produce condemnation, self-hate, self-loathing, inordinate guilt, and a mantle of shame. When a person is trampled by the truth he may feel so trodden down that he might never be able to rise up again. He may see himself as inept and inadequate, and feeling like a worm for the rest of his life.
Without mercy, truth can wreck spiritual, emotional, and psychological devastation in an individual’s life.
It could inflict wounds that may take years to recover from. Therefore, for true justice to be achieved, a balance must be struck with both mercy and truth playing equally strategic roles in the administration of true justice and judgment.
Wisdom of God’s Love