Justice and mercy
A funeral took place yesterday for Paul Croutch, a homeless man who was murdered in his sleep in Toronto on August 31 in an unprovoked attack. Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor James Bartleman spoke at the service:
Bartleman says he remembers “a well spoken man, obviously a person who was well read and very likeable”. Bartleman has made improving the lives of mentally ill one of his goals as lieutenant-govenor of Ontario. He says that Croutch’s murder means that all Canadians need to ask themselves, “Who and how society failed Paul Croutch.”
Croutch’s former wife also spoke:
“Unfortunately, he refused help at every turn,” said Ms. Howard, who urged people to treat the problems of homelessness and mental illness more seriously. “We need to talk about these [mental health issues],” she said. “We shouldn’t pretend we don’t see these people. Look them in the eye and say ‘hello.’ Just try to elevate people’s lives. One person can make a difference.”
All of this hits home as I’ve just been studying Micah 6, where God launches a lawsuit against his people who are going through the motions in worship, but are showing no concern for justice and mercy. Justice deals with the systemic issues that let people like Paul Croutch down. Mercy looks them in the eye and treats them as people. One of the things that is striking about the Gospels is how much Jesus gave dignity to those that society overlooked. My heart is broken by this savage murder, but I’m encouraged that our Lieutenant-Governor gets it. And I’m hoping that people like me catch up pretty soon.