mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13)
36 years ago yesterday I learned who God is at the bottom of a cliff. He met me there, stooping as a Friend, my ‘Good Samaritan’, a Neighbor who drops everything and beats a path next door.
I didn’t deserve saving. Prodigal to the core, I had mocked and grieved Him with my antics, but rather than withdrawing a sword of judgment from its golden sheath, He reached down to me with humble hands and showed inexplicable mercy.
It would be easy to cipher that what I got was judgment, laying all bloody, broken, and paralyzed down there, but it was as far from judgment as anything.
It was mercy overload.
Speaking metaphorically, I was a serial killer on the hunt for my next victim, a terrorist in a truck loaded with bombs en route to a crowded plaza, or a suicidal lost cause with the barrel of a live handgun pointed at my temple. I was the chief of sinners until the Chief Shepherd of my soul blocked my way and took the gun from my hand, saving me from utter desolation and damnation.
That he turned my bearings to himself and my paralysis into praise is a testament to his great Love. God’s mercy won me – not fair and square, but righteously and marvelously. I am my Beloved’s and he is mine.
“Man works from the central attribute of justice; God from the central attribute of Love. Before he draws his hand from his bosom and whets his glittering sword of justice to punish, that bosom would seem to devise all schemes of mercy and to employ all means of kindness that, if possible, mercy might rejoice over judgment.
“What do you say then, sinner, to this love? Has it interested, instructed, won you? Presume not upon its patience and continuance. Throw down the weapons of your rebellion, and submit to the government of God. Embrace in faith the scepter of his grace, for that scepter will not always be outstretched; neither will it always be the scepter of grace…” – Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878
But for today, there is still mercy. And not only that, it’s more mercy than you can ever imagine for yourself or possibly contain in an eternity of lifetimes.