Sunday, June 7, 2009

Truth, Justice, AND Mercy: The Taming of the Shrew

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: Proverbs 3:3

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelations 3:20

If I could be any fictional heroine, I would be Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. She has the best lines for every situation from proposals to prideful elders, and, of course, she marries the richest most successful man in the book. Spending more time with Shylock of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, however, I began to see a bit more of myself than I was happy with.

I’m pretty passionate about truth. I love finding new truth and new freedom. But reading The Merchant of Venice taught me where truth can lead if it isn’t bound together in the heart along with mercy. Both Elizabeth and Shylock revel in unjust thoughts at times.

Not a day went by without a solitary walk in which she might indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recollections.182

If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.A3 S1

However, while Elizabeth’s heart also loves mercy, Shylock’s heart is fixed solely on justice.

But the misfortune of speaking with bitterness is a most natural consequence of the prejudices I had been encouraging.193

Ill not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool, To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield To Christian intercessors.A3 S3

But does my heart love mercy? Do I really wish to end a “quarrel about the past” and then to “be always of one mind?” as Elizabeth did with Wickham?281 Undoubtedly, I feel a strong inclination to say with Shylock, “I crave the law.”A4 S1 Furthermore, it seems at times an impossible thing to respond as Antonio did, “I do oppose My patience to his fury; and am arm’d To suffer, with a quietness of spirit, The very tyranny and rage of his.”A4 S1 Surely, though, “In the course of justice, none of us should see salvation: we do pray for mercy.”A4 S1 And it has been granted.

“TO every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 My blind fury and frustration can give way to peace and wisdom. The shrew can be tamed. I must simply open the door and let Him in.

More Quotes:

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.”A4 S1

“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.” D&C 121:45

“Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” Psalm 89:14

All Pride and Prejudice references are from the Bantam Classic March 2003 edition.

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