Man’s own sense of justice gives rise to out of control emotions and cruel actions.
Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? (Proverbs 27:4)
While man’s implementation of justice can appear like the doing of God’s will, it is cruel when it proceeds from his own will and mind and not God’s.
Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. (Genesis 49:5-7)
A harsh spirit is off-putting.
And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. (Genesis 34:30)
A merciful spirit is attractive.
The desire of a man is his kindness… (Proverbs 19:22)
desire = desirability kindness > Hebrew – hesed > mercy
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. (Proverbs 3:3,4)
God expected the rulers of His people to have a “good understanding” of what He loved. Yet, instead of delighting in mercy, they “devoured” their own in cruel fashion.
And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones;
Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. (Micah 3:1-4)
God’s sensitivity and tender mercies toward us is relative to our sensitivity and tender mercies toward others.
Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:9-11)
Our harshness and hardness toward each other results from a failure to receive the instruction of God’s Spirit.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:14-16)
We cannot be led into the abundant life when we let ourselves heed and follow an impersonator of God’s Spirit.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (John 10:4,5)
There are things we can believe God requires of us and others that have never entered His mind. The gods of the nations were cruel and exacted the blood of human sacrifice in order to be placated.
And they have turned unto me the back, and not the face: though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not hearkened to receive instruction.
But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.
And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. (Jeremiah 32:33-35)
If we are to honor God we must do away with our ideas of what He wants, or what is acceptable or just in our eyes. We must recognize and give Him what is good in His eyes.
Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:6-8)
While devils, and men who are like them, cruelly delight in judgment more than mercy; God singularly delights in mercy more than judgment.
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. (Micah 7:18)
Although God does not condemn all judgment, He condemns judgment where there is no mercy.
For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. (James 2:13)
Cruelty is found where there is an absence of mercy.
They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion. (Jeremiah 6:23)
God’s love for mercy does not mean He is not also a God judgment.
…For the LORD God of recompences shall surely requite. (Jeremiah 51:56)
Judgment calls for recompense to be given.
Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. (Hosea 9:14)
What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?
Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. (Psalm 120:3,4)
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:30,31)
God’s mercy causes Him to not give us what we deserve.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. (Psalm 103:8-11)
A merciful heart is a giving heart.
The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. (Psalm 37:21)
A generous spirit gives “space” for others to change/repent.
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. (Revelation 2:21)
When scripture speaks of the Lord being merciful, it also speaks of Him being gracious and longsuffering.
And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6)
Mercy and judgment are measures that are given to us relative to the measure we give to others.
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:36-38)
Even when we see a fault in another, and before it has been “removed,” we are called to judge with a heart of mercy and not with a harsh attitude.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:2-5)
Peace or trouble comes into our being according to the measure of mercy or judgment we give to others.
And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile (Romans 2:3-10)
The failure to show mercy to others has a boomerang effect upon our bodies and our families (i.e., flesh.)
The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. (Proverbs 11:17)
We trouble ourselves and those around us when we become embittered.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (Hebrews 12:14,15)
We are delivered to the “tormentors” when we are not merciful.
Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:33-35)
The peace of God can only rule in our hearts when we are merciful.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15)
Even while we wait for change to come, we can be people of peace if we cease from unrighteous anger.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (Psalm 37:8)
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. (Psalm 37:37)