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Love is often considered in terms of being warm and fuzzy – very accommodating, compassionate, and non-judgmental. And love does have these qualities. But love is also firm and correcting – fiercely upholding a righteous standard and an unwavering commitment to move in this direction. And together mercy and justice compose the harmony of love.

In many ways, this can be seen as the contrast and union of fatherly and motherly love. Mothers are typically seen as more nurturing and accepting, while fathers might be less tolerant of bad behavior and quicker to discipline. To be sure, there’s wisdom in both approaches. But, left unchecked, both can also cause much harm when it operates alone and not in harmony with the other.

Justice becomes harsh, critical, and unforgiving – setting up an impossible standard that crushes the soul. And mercy becomes overly permissive, enabling, and ineffective – unable to produce true goodness through its excessive coddling.

But, like in the union of marriage, when justice and mercy harmonize with each other, together they’re able to beautifully blend and prevent either from reaching unloving extremes.

And while fathers and mothers symbolize this harmony of love, it’s a union that should operate within each of us as well.

For example, loving our wife requires much compassion, empathy, and tenderness. But we’re not loving our wife well when we turn a blind eye to the ways she misses the mark simply because we don’t want to upset her. Of course, our love should not be harsh or demanding, but we are called to uphold and proactively pursue God’s standards for our lives. Our practice of love requires both justice and mercy – a willingness to forgive and be gentle, without watering down God’s expectations for us.

In the end, let justice and mercy work together, composing a harmony of love throughout your life and relationships.

Photo by Aretha Raasch on Pexels

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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