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In Les Misérables the antagonist is a police man named Javert. He is a pitiful man who believes in judgment alone and not mercy. Last week we saw the clip from the movie where Jean Valjean receives mercy from the Bishop and I told you that he lives the rest of his life trying to give the same mercy he received. Javert, on the other hand tries to live his life on the basis of justice and the rule of law – he says things like “once a thief, always a thief.” At one point of the movie he makes a mistake and requires the mayor to punish him – his justice must even apply to himself – but the mayor (Valjean in disguise) has mercy on him, finally ordering him to forgive himself, because the chief of police must obey an order from the Mayor. He is forever in pursuit of Valjean to bring him to justice. At one point in the story Valjean is given the chance to kill Javert, and be rid of his pursuer forever. Instead, he has mercy on him and sets him free. In the final scene, Javert and Valjean meet up again

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Javert cannot live with the reality that Valjean has been redeemed, and is a better man than he is, when he catches up with Valjean in the end, he sets him free and kills himself because he cannot live with the mercy that was shown him and the mercy that he gave.

Javert is a great example of how we cannot receive mercy unless we will give mercy. Javert would not give mercy for others or for himself. Mercy was such an offence to him that he literally could not live with it.

Jesus tells us that unless we give mercy, we will not receive it. On the positive side, he says “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7

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