"Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful."
~ C.S. Lewis
Someone told me today that our culture doesn't accept "lashing out." I find this interesting. It seems that our ability to use our hearts and minds to express righteous anger and shock at something horrible has been condemned, at least for specific topics. So people can speak candidly about universal issues such as rape of women (and only women, and usually only white women). People can say we should hang a rapist by his balls and they'll be applauded. But stray off the path of complete relativism and acceptance for anything relating to infant violence and suddenly you are accused of being judgmental and perhaps a bit crazy.
If you've ever shared information on a variety of infant-violence topics, you probably recognize how difficult it is to freely and truthfully have a discussion before a so-called peacemaker steps in to shut things down. Typically the statements are written in such a way as to imply you are hurting someone or discriminating against others. "You might be opposed to circumcision, but parents have a choice." "Just because you disagree with vaccination doesn't mean you can tell others it's dangerous." "Your words are hurtful and do nothing to help others." Sound familiar?
Peace is an interesting concept. Most people seem to forget that peace and the suspension of judgment (mercy) cannot exist without a true acknowledgement of justice and wrongdoing. Mercy is not about denying the error, but rather about pointing it out and then choosing to withhold punishment. It seems to me that every infant-violence activist I know is merciful. Their goal is to spread awareness and share information. They don't advocate that parents be jailed, condemned, ridiculed or otherwise punished.
Peace is not blind tolerance. It's not relativism. Peace is the acknowledgement that all humans have dignity and a right to respect and a right to bodily integrity. To shutdown discourse and thus silently allow the perpetration of further indignity, disrespect and loss of integrity is not peace, even if the silence that results feels peaceful. Tolerating abuse is in actuality the exact opposite of peace. It is a subtle cooperation with injustice that in some ways is more horrible than outright violence.
When people tell you to just get along, to withhold judgment, to stop speaking out, to consider all opinions equal, they might claim they promote peace, love, mercy, and humility. But in fact what they are doing promotes none of these.
Charity cannot exist without truth. Lying to someone to be kind or so as not to stir the waters is the opposite of love. Lying out of love is lust.
Peace cannot exist without dignity. Peace that protects the abuser is apathy and serves only to perpetrate evil.
Mercy cannot exist without justice. Mercy that denies wrongdoing is not good tolerance but rather an alliance with the abuser. Mercy that ignores justice is mob rule.
Humility cannot exist without action. The act of being humble has little to do with how quietly you speak or how few talents you possess. Rather, it is about how you share your talents and skills with others. Humility that hides is cowardice.
Those out there who fight to protect the most innocent and helpless among us, make sure you are wearing the right form of armor. If you are accused of being hurtful, crazy, passionate, judgmental or who-knows-what, take a moment to evaluate your approach. We are all humans and sometimes things can get out of hand. But if you find that the accuser is hiding behind a misinterpretation of the above virtues, stand strong and continue to reach out to others.
Now you feel more depth behind the statement: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." (Matthew 5:9)
"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
~Martin Luther King, Jr
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home." ~Mother Theresa