Yes, God is a God of justice. But, God is also a God of mercy. His mercy exceeds his justice. God’s plan does not intend to give us what we deserve. God’s plan is to show mercy.
John 3:16-17 reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
In today’s Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees brought an adulterous woman before him. They asked him whether she should be stoned in accordance with the law from Moses.
We all know his answer: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Before and after he gave this answer, he wrote on the ground with his finger. What did he write? Saint Jerome said, “’But Jesus, stooping down, began to write with his finger on the ground,’ the sins, to be sure, of those who were making the accusation,…” These leaders were eager to exact “justice” on this woman. But, faced with the reality of their sins and not wanting similar justice brought upon them, they walked away.
Notice that Jesus does not condone anyone’s sins. According to Saint Jerome, he calls out the sins of the leaders. And, he tells the woman, “Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore.”
Jesus’ act of mercy helps to save the woman. He does not come to condemn. He comes to save. He does not condemn the leaders. But, perhaps by calling out their sins, he changes them. And, after asking the woman whether anyone is left to condemn her, he tells her, “Neither do I condemn you.”
God wants to show mercy. But, we must show repentance to receive that mercy. Then God will give us what he desires to give us. Not the justice that we deserve but the mercy that we did not merit.
Are we willing to be saved from our sins? To show repentance and to receive God’s mercy?
Are we willing to show mercy to others?