Justice and Mercy

14th January 2024

And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Justice and Mercy

It has been called the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British history.  I am referring, of course, to the way hundreds of sub-postmasters in Britain have been treated by the Post Office who accused them of theft and false accounting when all along it was the Horizon computerised accounting system that was at fault.  Between them, they have lost their jobs, their savings and their health.  They have had their reputations smeared.

The details were all over the news this week, not least thanks to the recent ITV drama Mr Bates vs. The Post Office.  It is easy to be captivated by the story, and the drama is gripping, but we need to remember that people’s lives have been ruined by this scandal, and some lives even lost, and the injustice has yet to be resolved satisfactorily.

So how should we respond as Christian believers?  Here are some suggestions: We can lament the miscarriage of justice, and the way these decent people have been treated.  We can pray that they get justice, proper justice, and that they get it quickly.  We can pray that they get the help they need: financial, psychological, relational, spiritual.  We can give thanks that the injustice is now being investigated, even if it has taken too long and there have been cover-ups.  We can pray that those who are to blame will own up, repent and seek forgiveness.  We can resolve ourselves to be people who love justice (and mercy), refusing to turn a blind eye to injustice (and eager to show mercy).

And we can thank God that he is a God of justice and mercy.  He is so committed to justice that he would rather see his own Son sacrificed for sins than leave those sins unpunished (Romans 3:26).  And he is so committed to mercy that he was willing to give his own Son to satisfy his own justice.  This is good news for sinners like us, who need God’s mercy ourselves, and also need God to be just, because an unjust forgiveness is worth nothing.

It is because the Lord is a God of justice and mercy that his people can be expected “to act justly and to love mercy” – because that’s exactly what our God himself does.

Father, thank you that you always act justly and love mercy, and thank you for both acting justly and showing mercy in the death of your Son; teach us, like you, to act justly and to love mercy.  Amen.

Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)