Here are some expressed thoughts; these may seem fragmented, but it’s a train of thought that doesn’t have to feel complete.

I become the one I despise when I curse, “Crucify the murderer!”
Is it truly justice or mercy, if there is condemnation and punishment? I’ve heard of Mercy, but do I get to pick and choose to whom I give it? What if, by deciding the fate of a stranger to heaven or hell, I’ve actually decided my own? What if fate is not chosen from actions but by embracing identity How then, does Mercy truly triumph over judgment?

God does not come to condemn the world but to save it–the ones who outright reject him and defile his creation. He doesn’t see wretched sinners in need of saving; he sees sons and daughters born of himself who have forgotten their royal identity.

Punishment for a broken law is not justice. It is a violent cycle that will not end. Who decides the law-breaker’s punishment? Who decides the punishment for the judge when he falls short?

But God canceled all debts through Jesus, so that every one was reconciled to him as pure and blameless. How do we become Him?

“Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world…”: Have I have given the world power by listening to its voice and reproducing its words as if it is God?

Death comes to those who preach death (punishment), and Life abounds from those who bless it (show mercy).

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in him have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

This is a startling confession. Jesus is equating himself with a serpent. It’s easy to curse a snake, but what if it is misunderstood? We tell ourselves that it’s wise to be afraid of snakes because they could kill us. If someone broke into your house and scared the life out of you, wouldn’t your response be similar to that of a snake bite? Maybe snakes don’t want to kill. The Israelites complain they would die in the desert (maybe because they were in snake country); what if God doesn’t send snakes to punish Israel, but God allows snakes to enter their camp because they are confessing with their mouths that death is near?

Moses puts a replica of it on a pole when they cry out for God to save them.

What is considered as evil and a creature of affliction now becomes a symbol of salvation. And Jesus says, “I am this misunderstood snake.”

We think God demands death for death, but Jesus comes to crucify the justice we demand and to open our eyes to see it really is never what we wanted. Death is used as a tool to bring the Way and Truth of Life.

Jesus was willing to become the murderer-snake because his way of justice as King is mercy.

Maybe murderers are kings who don’t know they wield their power in fear because they’ve never encountered mercy. Mercy creates life; fear destroys it.

Then another thought occurs:
What if we stopped mislabeling hatred as “racism” and called it for what it is: Fear and Misunderstanding of Man? Doesn’t that give dignity and a sense of kindness back to our humanity? We are very harsh on ourselves and our fellow men. “Racism” separates me from someone else, as if I am better because “That’s not me; I don’t struggle with it.” We label each other “snakes.” But everyone knows what it is like to be afraid of being hurt, to fearfully realize you are misunderstood. I have come face to face with the false belief that no one else thinks or believes just like me.

Are my emotions being manipulated by chaos in the world? Am I trying to cover up the reality that my blood is your blood is his blood is her blood? That my history is your history? I’m not talking about our individual stories and struggles and backgrounds; I’m referring to our humanity.

Justice says: I will stop this violent cycle of separating myself from my brother and sister. Mercy says, “You’re my equal.” Mercy is apologizing on behalf of the victimizer. Mercy is forgiving on behalf of the victim. Am I willing to take the place of the murderers and cheats, the betrayers and abusers, the narcissists and addicts? Am I willing to lay down my life without self-defense, so that the guilty might have another chance to choose life, or not? Am I willing to look him/her in the eyes and say, “I’m sorry that you are terrified; I don’t hold your actions against you because this really isn’t who you are; do not be afraid.”

Because maybe they don’t yet realize death isn’t what they really want. Maybe they just need someone to remind them they are sons and daughters of the God of Mercy.