I forget how that saying goes exactly... something about when you sin, you pray for mercy, but when someone else sins and you get hurt from it, you pray for justice. Still, when we get hurt from someone else's missteps or deliberate stabs at us, we might find it hard, but still do-able, to pray for mercy for them. However, today's events really made me stop and think hard about all this.
I think most people have heard by now about the little two year old boy in Sioux Falls, South Dakota who died today. He was the victim of one heck of a beating, courtesy of the mother's boyfriend (allegedly). You can read the details here.
After being in critical condition, the little boy died today, and I started praying for justice. Actually, I'll admit that was not my first reaction. Then I started wondering if mercy wasn't what I should be praying for. What's right? Praying for mercy for that low-life, or justice for the little boy whose life was taken, and so violently?
Do you pray for mercy for someone who is so dead in their own sin that they can't see the one thing they need desperately? Of course. Even when they commit a heinous crime like this? I can't logically see how the reason could change, but I'll be the first to admit I find praying for the person who did this to be one of the most unpalatable things I can think of at the moment.
I've been pondering this most of the afternoon, and have come to
the conclusion that the right thing to do is probably to pray for both
mercy AND justice. And that somehow, this person who is the epitome of evil can have his heart changed and his soul saved.