A conversation that I had the other evening just wouldn’t let me go. It left me with a question that haunted my dreams that night and scurried to be the first thing on my heart the next day.
Who deserves grace and mercy?
We have all done things that, had true judgment occurred, we ought to live with the fair consequences thereof. And if added up, all of our wrongs essentially end up at the same punishment: death. Death of self, end of life as we know it, immeasurable torment and woe and shame.
Inherently, we know this and to circumvent what we deserve we assign false weight to wrongdoing that usually favors our personal shortcomings. We place murder above lies and deceit, theft above gossip, sexual immorality above greed and selfishness. We align ourselves with the lower rungs on the ladder, hiding inner struggle with the crying pride of the Pharisee: Thank you God that I am not like this other worse person who...We absolve ourselves of our own planks while loudly pointing out the motes of others. We smugly excuse our own terrible judgment and life destroying choices and dream killing patterns because at least we didn’t end up in jail.
The reality is that we have all fallen mind-bogglingly short, wreaking havoc on ourselves and others with impunity. We refuse the truth that at some point we were the swine before whom pearls have been dropped. We pretend that the darkest corners of our hearts are not filled with malice and greed and anger and hate at the cost of salvation for those we scorn. We pick and choose for whom grace and mercy exists based on our inner demons and vast shortcomings in a foolish need to help ourselves. We decide erroneously and pridefully who gets the favor and mercy and who does not.
I struggled with that truth on your behalf, coming back to it like a dog to its own vomit. It would not let me rest in peace because if that is true, then it must also be true that we shall forever remain undone. I wondered why bother, if mankind is so vile and unredeemable and so undeserving? Why bother!
But God is a God of wisdom, giving freely where one asks. And so, God asked the question of me again, seeding an answer where none existed for me. Who is deserving of grace and mercy?
God’s answer: EVERYONE.
Is that not the response of the cross? Is that not the work of Christ–that grace and mercy abound? Is that not the message of the gospel, that the undeserving be made deserving in Him?
As you move about this life as a child of the light, you would do well to remember the grace and mercy extended to you. God did not, in the shedding of God’s own blood, pick and choose who might benefit from the Love sacrificed. In fact, God made that Love free for all, until God’s own self called time on the game. As we await that end, let us all do so with the idea in mind that God is good because God’s mercy endures forever and God’s grace is sufficient for us all. And that inside that truth, we are called to be as God is: good because our mercy endures forever.