There is goodness, that which builds people,
and there is evil, that which breaks people.
And there is a third thing, called righteousness, which is evil done in
the name of defending that which is good. How addictive it can be, only
the righteous can know, but to those caught up against it righteousness
is terrifying, for those in its grip are convinced of their own
goodness, and refuse to be swayed.
And there is a fourth thing, which is goodness done in the name of
defending even those who do evil, and that is called mercy. Only
through mercy will evil pass away from the hearts of those who are so
broken and so wretched as to be led into evil. For those who choose
mercy over righteousness understand that all must live, even those who do evil, so that they have a chance to understand what it means to do
good, and to follow that path at last, to build instead of destroy.
And only by choosing mercy will evil pass away from the hearts of those
who choose righteousness. For so many who are righteous believe that
all the world about them is evil, and deserves no mercy, and in quiet
moments many of them know that even if they bring forth a world where
all are good and kind, they cannot live in it, because they have done
too much evil to deserve a life there. It is through mercy that they are
forgiven, so that they can at last forgive themselves, and lay down
their weapons forever.
Those who receive mercy and reject it for
the sake of righteousness lead themselves away from the world they have
built, and will be a long time coming back, if ever.
But only those who receive mercy and reject it for the sake of doing evil are truly lost.