Some things just naturally go together. A few examples come to mind; sweet & sour, peanut butter & jelly, bagel & cream cheese. Yummy!!
Salt & pepper also came to mind. These 2 are so inseparable that there is a whole industry of shakers supporting their union!
What about Justice & Mercy?
Definitions of justice on the Web:
• the quality of being just or fair
• judgment involved in the determination of rights and the assignment of rewards and punishments
Definitions of mercy on the Web:
• mercifulness: the feeling that motivates compassion
• alleviation of distress; showing great kindness toward the distressed
These seemingly 2 opposite sides of a coin work best when aligned. I once asked, is it better to fight against the never ending conflict that exists or to focus our energy in responding to the aftermath? In this sense, my question was trying to determine if we should place one ahead of the other. While a multitude of opinions exist and many valid arguments, I just keep coming back to the perspective that you cannot have one without the other.
I have started to read another book – one I hope to report more on here in a few days. At this point, I’ve only just made it through the introduction. That in itself offered so much food for thought. The book is called “An Imperfect Offering” by James Orbinski, M.D. Dr. Orbinski was with the organization Doctors Without Borders and this book is a collection of stories he has been in and lived through over the last 20 years.
The introduction is heady, Dr. O describes one question that he says has preoccupied him for much of his life “How am I to be, how are we to be in the relation to the suffering of others?” I would think this is the deep rooted question for all of us who see the suffering and want to help. It also leaves me a bit confused along the way about how others can see the same suffering, but yet be quite satisfied to turn an apathetic head.
A quote from page 6 (you can see why this read is going so slow!!!) “When I began working with MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres), I naively accepted the cloak of the apolitical doctor. I believed humanitarianism – with its principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence – to be outside of politics, in some ways even superior to it, and a way of avoiding its messy business. But I would come to see humanitarianism not as separate from politics but in relation to it, and as a challenge to political choices that too often kill or allow others to be killed.”
So while the side of justice is so important to CHANGE things and requires political knowledge, ability and authority, mercy is necessary to show CARE and COMPASSION to those who are affected by the things that NEED to change.
A third side to Justice & Mercy is Apathy. A humanitarian tries to turn apathy to empathy.
One final quote “Humanitarianism involves an insistence that international humanitarian law be applied and a call to others to act as citizens to demand that governments respect basic human dignity.”…. “Humanitarianism is about the struggle to create the space to become fully human”
You may be stronger towards the justice side of things, or perhaps your heart beats more for mercy. If you find however, that you are apathetic, please work to turn that to empathy. If most of the world just doesn’t care, then how will anything change?? Think about if WE were the ones in need of justice & mercy. If was us and our loved ones, and we were at the mercy of others being willing to get involved, wouldn’t you hope someone would want to do this for you? I would want someone to believe I am worth it!