When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,Mrs. Jailer recently purchased a refrigerator at a yard sale for $50. It was a great deal, or so she believed, until she found that the lady who sold her the appliance was never available for the pick-up. Time and again we called, only to find that she wasn't home or was "just leaving." Then last week when we called, we discovered that she'd sold the refrigerator to someone else ... and had no interest in returning our money.
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Now we have to make a choice. Do we hunt her down and retrieve this money, when we know that she's probably not going to return it no matter what we do? $50 isn't chump change, but nor is it worth going to small claims court, or stalking her, or even spending a lot of time and energy worrying about. No, in the end it's not the $50 that would drive us ... it's our sense of injustice!
You see, we have a well-developed sense of justice, particularly when it comes to what we are owed! We know what's "fair" and what's "unfair" when we are wronged. However, in one of the best illustrations I've ever heard on the topic, RC Sproul illuminates how justice by itself is truly a terrifying prospect for us, whose hands are stained with sin!
Like Sproul's freshman class, we can come to see God's grace as His duty toward us. Assuming His unconditional love is required of Him, we grow angry when we or those we love suffer more than is "fair". But this assumes that fairness rather than mercy is truly what we want from God.
No Mercy, No Peace!