Increasingly the world is a battleground for the forces of right and left, neither of which can see any good in the other. But what if both these viewpoints derive (ultimately and at a very great distance) from qualities that are traditionally associated with God, the two which form the title of this post and the two main pillars of his temple? These could also be regarded as Truth and Love, and when described like that it seems obvious that both are equally necessary and equally part of the whole, neither being complete without the other for there is no love without truth and no truth without love.
A great problem in the world today is that people can't reconcile love and truth but that is essential if one is to know real love and real truth, and not just ideas or mental images of them.
You might think that a sensible person would row their boat using both oars, as it were, but the situation is not that simple, not in practice anyway. Truly we need to be as wise as serpents at this point in history when the Kali Yuga is in full swing and the End Times approach. Thus we have to know that, while evil cannot create anything of itself, it can and does distort God's light. That's how it operates. It corrupts the good. Today the idea of love or mercy has been corrupted and is used as a weapon against truth. Both left and right pervert their originating principles but the corruption of love by the left is the most significant distortion of reality at the present time. Why? Because it takes love out of its context which is God. If it is not rooted in that it is just a transient emotion with no real substance to it and nothing to sustain it. Nor is it directed to its proper end.
The cultural left is clearly the main weapon in the great current rebellion against God. It uses the supposed good of the merely human in order to deny the divine. That is because its world view is based on materialism but this is not so much that it thinks materialism is true as that it wants to think materialism is true, and that is because it wants to deny God. Thus it pretends it is motivated by love or compassion when it is actually more often than not driven by hate, hatred of spiritual truth, even if this is usually disguised from and not admitted to itself. As such it attracts those who are themselves rebels against the divine order and who use a theoretical defence of the weak and oppressed as means to further their own egotism, rebellion against truth or search for power*. As for the right, while at its best it might seek to preserve tradition and spiritual authority (though this is increasingly rare), it can too easily descend into authoritarianism, literalism and injustice. However the right, traditionally understood rather than seen as a tool of reaction or a promoter of extreme forms of capitalism, has very little power nowadays. Culturally it has virtually none. This might change but at the moment it is so and is why the spiritual person should train his guns predominantly on the left since that has become the water in which we all swim, and its assumptions are the basic assumptions of what we think of as the civilised world.
As for justice and mercy, each must absolutely and always include the other. They are the Father and Mother of Truth and go together. If that does not happen either one is liable to become a tool of the devil who can use both left and right for his own ends. But he will find that hard to do if we hold these twin principles in a complementary way because then the excesses and imbalances that either one may have if taken on its own or perverted are preventable. And we will find it easy to hold a balanced view of justice and mercy if we are honest about our own motivations, and subject our thoughts and desires to the higher authority that is God. This authority is not a tyrannical one as sometimes ignorantly depicted. It is the authority of the truth of what we actually are so more like the authority of air requiring us to breathe it than something more powerful than us coercing obedience. The Book of Common Prayer says that 'In his service is perfect freedom', and this apparently paradoxical statement sums up what the authority of God really means. Obedience to divine will is freedom but this obedience is never demanded. It is the fulfilment of our being and so should be given, as it will be received, in love.
I have said that the roots of modern political division lie in the focus that each side has on a particular divine quality. Assuming good will, therefore, a rapprochement should be easy. Unfortunately you can't assume good will because the dominant ethos, that of the left, has taken a truth and corrupted it to further an unholy agenda. That is, its unseen masters behind the scenes have done this and their human dupes in this world, many of them no doubt well-intentioned (though many not), have just responded to the impressions that are fed them - though they have only responded as they have because they themselves have not allowed the truth to take hold within them. But then left and right is a false dichotomy. The only real battle is between those who recognise God, or at least who are honestly seeking him in one way or another even if they are not fully aware of that themselves, and those who deny or rebel against the divine order. All other oppositions must be seen in the light of that.
I condemn the left in this post because it is the main tool used by the infernal powers at this time to deconstruct the human image and deny the reality of God and all that springs from that. It is possible that this could be done from a right wing point of view but that is not what is actually happening now. Not for the most part anyway. The only real basis for left wing thought is compassion for the downtrodden but if this is not seen in the context of the reality of God it becomes just another means of oppression. And who was the first person to show this compassion? Who did it at a time when to do so was almost unheard of? From whom does the idea actually originate? Jesus Christ taught that the first should be last and the last first, and that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven, but he did not do this from what we would now call a left wing perspective. He did it from the love and knowledge of God. To do otherwise is a pretence, and to put man's well being in this world ahead of the development of his relationship with God is a reversal of priorities that can only come from one place. If you get the priorities right (and work at developing that relationship), the former will be taken care of, but if you get it wrong, as we do now, then neither one of them will go well.
* Note: Of course many ordinary individuals who follow the left/liberal point of view do so chiefly because it is the currently acceptable way of thinking but even they are denying God to a greater or lesser degree.
And we will find it easy to hold a balanced view of justice and mercy if we are honest about our own motivations, and subject our thoughts and desires to the higher authority that is God.
Good post! I read a recent article by Bishop Robert Barron who made an interesting point on divine mercy. I believe it lines up with your thinking here, but his point emphasizes that balance (like between justice and mercy) should not dilute either...
The third principle I identified is that the divine mercy is demanding. I told the fathers gathered in Rome that we tend to understand the proclamation of the divine mercy according to a zero-sum logic, whereby the more we say about mercy, the less we should say about moral demand, and vice versa. But this is repugnant to the peculiar both/and logic of the Christian gospel. As Chesterton saw so clearly, the Church loves “red and white and has always had a healthy hatred of pink!” It likes both colors strongly expressed side by side, and it has an abhorrence of compromises and half-way measures.
Agreed, and I like Chesterton's quote! Mercy without justice is an unbalanced thing that leads to injustice and vice versa. Even children know this.
Or,as I should have said, mercy without a full understanding of justice etc. A child knows this but the modern mind tends to overlook it except in the most obvious circumstances.
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