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Justice and Mercy

Defining Justice and Mercy

“Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24).

Justice and mercy are the tangible expressions of loving our neighbors as God has loved us. They are the ways that we live like Jesus here and now, affirming the goodness of God’s image in others and anticipating the overflowing shalom—peace and flourishing—that characterizes God’s coming kingdom.

Rhythms of Justice and Mercy

by Chris Schoon, Director of Thrive-US

True confession: I lack rhythm. Somewhere between what my ears hear and how my hands clap, my feet tap, and the rest of my body moves, the beat gets distorted. It’s like watching a video with delayed, out-of-sync audio. Nothing lines up the way it’s supposed to.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t try. In fact, I love listening to music, singing along (admittedly, out of tune), and dancing around the house. I’ll randomly tap out patterns on a table or on my laptop when I’m thinking, and I occasionally pick up my son’s guitar and attempt to strum a few disconnected chords. Simply put, I make a joyful noise. Though I am not a musician, music is still one of the ways that I engage with the world around me. I can even say that music forms me.

Perhaps the rhythm that I find most challenging and most important, however, is God’s heartbeat for justice and mercy. It doesn’t come naturally to me. God’s love for people who have been marginalized, discarded, and taken advantage of reverberates throughout the Bible:

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Helpful Resources for Practicing Justice and Mercy

Scripture passages on justice and mercy and a resource list of good things to read, watch, and listen to.

How Can I Practice Justice and Mercy?

Practicing Justice and Mercy Individually

Practicing Justice and Mercy with a Group

Practicing Justice and Mercy as a Family

Points to Ponder

Explore these questions in personal reflection, at home, or in small groups:

  • How does God’s character inform biblical justice?
  • Biblical justice involves working for the flourishing of all. Which groups in my community are flourishing? Which are struggling?
  • What would a biblically just society look like?
  • What is my sphere of influence? How might I work for justice in those areas?


“The Christian gospel is a summons to peace, calling for justice beyond anger, mercy beyond justice, forgiveness beyond mercy, love beyond forgiveness.”

—Wendell Berry (Tweet this quote)

Explore Other Faith Practices

Thrive's Faith Practices Project explores twelve Christian practices or spiritual disciplines: sabbath, gratitude, generosity, hospitality, engaging Scripture, justice and mercy, listening, celebration, prayer, wonder, remembering, and service.