“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10 NKJV
Our country is polarized right now and has been for several years. People have been trying to transform left and right viewpoints into “either-or” politics. It’s not working. Different viewpoints are not supposed to be mutually exclusive; in fact, both are necessary in order for either to survive. Fortunately there are people who recognize this and are writing about it: Chris Satullo “Polite Politics: Five Road-Tested Rules for Talking with the Other Side” and James R. Neal “Our Own Worst Enemy.” I would like to add my own solitary voice to those advocating mutual respect, understanding, and collaboration.
Conservative and Liberal: We need both to function as a society. From Webster’s dictionary © 1980, we have the following definitions:
Conservative: disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., and to agree with gradual rather than abrupt change; to favor moderate progressivism; one who conserves (i.e., to keep from loss, decay, waste, or injury); to favor official supervision of rivers, forests, and other natural resources.
Liberal: favorable to progress or reform, as in religious or political affairs; of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies or monarchies; favorable to concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties; free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant; open-minded.
Based on these definitions, I am a conservative liberal and a liberal conservative. I have a right side and a left side who work well together. My left brain collaborates with my right brain to create all sorts of amazing things for me to think about. Without those two, I would be very bored and restless and would probably get into all sorts of trouble.
When I want to write something, my right hand does the heavy lifting at first, while my left hand holds the paper steady. When it’s time to transfer my written thoughts to my computer, both hands work in harmony on the keyboard. You go, hands!
Speaking of words, I need both my “yes” and my “no,” my “up” and my “down,” my “hello” and “goodbye.” How frustrating it would be to communicate if I did not have a choice of saying either one or the other, at any given time, and in any particular situation.
Justice and mercy are not mutually exclusive; they, too, work best when they work together. I need them both if I am going to function as a contributing member of society. I think we all do.