Not only is the ‘quality of mercy’ not ‘strained’ it is lucky that it doesn’t get itself beaten to a pulp under the fists of the self-righteous mob of our white-washed Pharisee hearts!
You would not be amazed, not really, if you found out with definitive, irrefutable proof, how many students really cheat on exams and papers; how many Law Students, and Seminarians cheat. You know others cheat because you hate them so, AND because you know that you cheat, have cheated, and will cheat again. Seminarians do cheat, curse, lie, and yes, even fornicate in disobedience to the 6th commandment. So do pastors.
If you say you’re a Christian then you should know this (Rom. 3.23). Pastors and Professors and those who have been called to teach and rebuke you, to protect and nurture you, are just as foul and feculent as you are! Duh! (Rom. 3.12).
When men steal and are caught by society they are punished. This is usually salutary (for exceptions please read Hugo’s Les Miserables). Jail and/or restitution is what society demands whether Christian, Muslim or secular. But, we Christians forgive and restore the fallen brother no matter what he stole or from whom he stole. Do we allow the repentant thief back into our parish to receive the gifts of Christ? Yes, we do allow the penitent back into the family feast, and if we don’t, then we are not Christians.
Why then is there such a double standard on sins of moral turpitude? Do we really think the Lord somehow views adultery, fornication, sexual abuse, prostitution and pornography in a worse light than bearing false witness, hatred, lying, and idolatry? Do we really think that we are not guilty of adultery and sexual impurity? Do we even read Matthew 5.28 anymore??
Now obviously one caught embezzling has no right to ever be a bank teller again, and one caught molesting young boys will never be a camp counselor or Boy Scout Pack leader… but what about that "one" that you know, the one who has sinned in a way that disgusts you, disappoints you, betrays you, and just makes you personally mad and bitter? Again, the Lord saith: “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” [Matt. 18. 21-22]
Again the Lord saith: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.” Putting it bluntly, if a pastor, professor, candle-stick maker, or the person who has betrayed you so deeply your belly bleeds into your soul every night, repents of his/her heinous sin of adultery, Christ Jesus forgives, restores, purifies, sanctifies, and makes that person whole and Holy as if the sin never happened…because when it did, Jesus hung bleeding and dying for it at Calvary. If the God/Man says “it is finished” you damn well better believe Him and say, “yes Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief!”
King David, the “apple of the Lords eye” and His true “anointed” and father of the Messias… committed an adultery as bad as any there ever has been. Yet you sing David’s Psalter and you yearn for the day when you can be with this greatest of under-kings singing the same psalms at The Wedding Feast. Why would you treat any Lamb of the Good Shepherd in a different manner than Jesse’s son?
Oh, you don’t believe their confession of sin, or that their repentance was sincere? How nice for you to have the gift of omniscience—I shall start calling you God.
Forgiveness isn’t easy. True forgiveness comes late in “the day” for many of us, and then, imperfect, conditional at times, and guarded. But the God/Man who died for our adulteries, fornications, murders, and for our black-hearted, unforgiving and vicious hearts, constrains us by His Holy Spirit to be conformed to His own cruciform Image…the Image of the Forgiving Savior…and IN CHRIST, we do “forgive those who trespass against us.”
SO: either pick up a rock and throw it as hard as you can against that filthy whore [Jn. 8. 1-11] that you think has “got it coming,” or, hear the voice of mercy issuing forth from the lips of He Who is THE Rock. He doesn’t just forgive the woman (or the Pastor, Professor, Parishioner-at-large) He forgives you!
“Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.” [Lk. 7. 39-43]