Justice Doesn’t Make You Happy

This post goes with the last post I published. So even though I’d usually post this on my religious blog, I decided to post it on here as a follow up.

I believe in justice. In fact, I have an unhealthy belief in justice. I used to participate in what I called “karma driving,” which basically means I would treat other drivers the way they treated people. So if I saw someone tailing other people or cut someone off, I’d go out of my way to be a jerk to that person. I justified my behavior because “they deserved it.”

I’m not sure when I decided to stop, but I basically just realized that it wasn’t making me happy. I mean, I felt some satisfaction that the person “got what they deserved” but knew it didn’t really change anything. Me being a jerk wasn’t going to change how someone else drives. Yeah, they might be a little more careful for the next few minutes, but jerks will still be jerks no matter how many times it backfires.

I still secretly hope that the car speeding past everyone and cutting off cars will end up stuck behind a semi truck, but I no longer feel compelled to make them suffer.

See, I have finally realized that justice doesn’t make you happy. Getting what we deserve doesn’t make us happy, and giving people what they deserve doesn’t make us happy either. Mercy on the other hand, does make us happy. I think that’s God’s favorite part of being God. Extending mercy is so fun. It makes you feel joy. Christ taught that the person who is forgiven more loves more. Forgiveness breeds love. Justice breeds hate. That’s why forgiving is so powerful. Mercy and forgiveness are gateways to love and love leads to joy. I’m so grateful for forgiveness and I hope that I can find ways to be merciful because I definitely need more love in my heart.

One of my favorite scriptures states that perfect love casteth out fear. So my goal lately has been to try to love people perfectly and love God perfectly because I fear people, but I know through God love can cast out that fear. And by believing in mercy and loving more, I think I can become so much happier.

Guilty

That might be the hardest word I have ever said. Maybe because it seems so final or maybe because it felt like a lie, it just felt like swallowing poison.

I got a ticket a few months ago for speeding. The thing is though, I don’t feel like I was speeding. I was going the speed of traffic, and I saw the cop on the side of the road. If I thought I was doing something wrong, I wouldn’t have done it knowing the cop was there.

All of that is irrelevant though because today I pled guilty. I pled guilty because they told me to. They said if you’re convicted, you can’t get the ticket off your record. They said they would lower the fine for me. They said that’s what they would do.

And so I said okay. I pled guilty because I had no idea what to do. I had no idea if I had a case because I still don’t fully understand what I did wrong. I just wanted to know for sure if I had done something wrong so I wouldn’t do it again, but I didn’t want to condemn myself by taking the chance that I really was wrong.

It makes me feel for all those people who plead guilty when they haven’t done anything. Mine was just a traffic ticket, nothing big or life changing, but I had no idea what to do and felt like I didn’t really have a choice. How many others feel the same way when it is life changing?

And that word still seems to linger in the air… Guilty.