The Might of Mercy

Russell Minick 3 Comments

When my dad lived in England he recommended going to the theatre. His favorite was Les Miserables. I told him that I was only vaguely familiar with Victor Hugo and asked for a quick synopsis. This is what he told me:

It is a story about a man so obsessed with justice that he becomes unjust and a man though guilty of injustice, finds mercy and becomes just.

Here is a 1935 film clip of the scene of a man who is defined as ‘bad’ who is given ‘good’.


The response of the bad is to serve himself, even though it hurts the good. The response of the good is to deny himself and do good to the bad. The result? In this case the bad becomes good. 

1 Peter 3:17-18 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (18) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God

God is not found in evil, but he is found amongst the evil. He is there to remove evil, by merciful redemption if at all possible. Like Jean in the story, the invitation is to come in through the door, the way is open.

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Comments 3

  1. I recommend reading the book (the abridged version maybe more palatable and easier to read unless you’re into reading Hugo’s social, political and religious thoughts and criticism, then the unabridged version will more than whet your appetite) and if you get the chance see the play. It is amazing – both the book and the play – I got to see it in Chicago a few years ago. It was one of the very first examples of redemption that I have read outside of the Bible (in High school) and one that definitely left a mark, especially the character of Bishop Myriel. My considerable bias against Roman Catholicism and Christianity in general at that age could not diminish the feelings of respect for the character and longing for something similar in real life. Sam

  2. I’ve tried taking my daughter to see the play while in London, but it has been sold out. Sooner or later we will make it!(Hannah read the unabridged and says she knows more about Parisian sewer systems than she ever planned to).

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