By: Judith Hargett
There came a time during my childhood when Mom took a job outside our home. She already had full-time work taking care of three children, raising a garden, making all our clothes, teaching Sunday school and helping Dad with the farm, but none of those jobs provided insurance. This left my brother, sister, and me with ample opportunity to get into mischief. Let me be quick to point out that during this time period (late 50’s) and in a country setting, it was not unusual nor against the law to leave children on their own for short periods. Besides, Dad was never too far away if a real crisis developed.
The three of us kids saved up our grievances with each other for that time when Mom would arrive home from work. How uplifting it must have been for her to come down our gravel road after a day that began long before she ever left for her paying job to see three little screeching maniacs racing toward her. We each wanted to get our side told first. I was sure when she heard my story I would get the justice I deserved!
Hmm. Justice. Is that really what I wanted? As believers, we are God’s children. Do we want our heavenly Father to give us what we deserve or do we really want His mercy? Sometimes we forget we are living in the universe God created and are subject to His rules, not the ones we make up for our idea of a perfect world. He created us. He is righteous whether He gives us justice or whether He gives us mercy. To borrow from Paul, “Does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” (Romans 9:21) And, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Don’t despair. Look at these next few verses: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Whew! Praise God that He gives us a way to drop the self from righteousness through Jesus Christ so we can be His children and run to Him with our needs and praises.
But, to get back to that human mother from my childhood. She would drag her worn out body from the car after her very long day and quickly assess the situation with a practiced eye. Since we were able to run and shout and had no blood spurting from anywhere, she would raise her hand and declare, “I don’t want to hear it!” Was that justice, or was it mercy? As an adult looking back and putting myself in her shoes, I’ve decided it was definitely mercy.