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July 8 | Romans 9:14-26


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


It's Not Fair

by Mary Alice McGinnis


On my twenty-fifth birthday, I was living in Los Angeles. We decided to do something extra special for my birthday. The choice was to go downtown to a renowned, five-star, revolving restaurant on the thirty-fourth floor of the Bonaventure Hotel. I was so excited!!


On our way to the restaurant, I navigated through the constant stop and go of downtown LA traffic - during rush hour - on a Friday night. (Think of your worst experience in any city during rush hour times ten). My hands had a white knuckled grip on the steering wheel.


I felt a little relieved once our exit was only one mile away. But to my dismay, the traffic came to a complete halt. We inched forward, as one car at a time got through the traffic light at the bottom of the exit ramp. Some thirty minutes later, we were coming closer to our turn to get through that light. The car in front of me proceeded through the light on yellow. I thought to myself, “I am not sitting through one more light.” So, I defiantly stomped on the gas pedal and went through the light as it turned RED. Whew! We were finally almost to our destination.


The next thing I knew, there was someone behind me shining their bright lights in my rear-view mirror. I did not realize what was happening until I saw the flashing of blue lights behind me.

I pulled over to the side of the road and handed my driver’s license to the officer. I was in tears. The police officer walked calmly back to his police cruiser as we waited.


In those moments, I must admit, the circumstances caused me to think, “It’s not fair! This should not be happening on my birthday.”

Deep down, I knew I was guilty and there was no getting around it. The policeman was fully justified in calling me to account. I had broken the law. I fully deserved to get a ticket.


Justice is getting what we deserve.


When the officer came back to my car window, he said, “What you did back there was very dangerous. You could have caused an accident and harmed yourself and someone else.”

He paused for a moment. “I am just going to give you a warning this time.” And as he walked away, he said, “Happy birthday.”


Mercy is NOT getting what we deserve.


Trying to excuse my behavior or justify it because I was so irritated by the traffic that caused me to be so impatient did not negate the facts. The truth of the matter was, I had broken the l law, and I deserved the full weight of the consequences. Minimizing our offenses is often our response, isn’t it?


Romans 3:10-12 tells us the truth about ourselves.


As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”


The first part of Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death. . .”


Death, loss, brokenness in our world is all a result of our selfish, controlling, rebellious, sinful state of our hearts. Injustice is having its day. Does that make God unfair?


Today’s verse questions, “What then shall we say? Is God unjust?”


We can response with Paul, “Certainly NOT!”


God’s holiness requires justice to be served. How does God’s requirement for justice – giving to all what they deserve – intersect with His mercy?


He sent Jesus. Jesus took upon Himself all the punishment we deserve. He carried the penalty for all the ways we have failed, all our rebellion against Him, all our grasping for control and our desire to be our own god. Instead of giving us what we deserve, in His mercy, He paid it all because of His mercy.

In His perfect justice, He will one day make all things right. He will right all the wrongs. To those who trust in Him as Savior, He will declare them - NOT GUILTY by His mercy.


Justice is getting what we deserve, and mercy is not getting what we deserve.


But there is more! Through Jesus, He lavishes upon us the gift of His favor and blessing that we do not deserve. Because He has conquered death and we too will experience life eternal!


The second part of Romans 6:23 tells us of God’s grace: “. . . but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Grace is being given more than we deserve.


Thanks be to God for His supreme justice, priceless mercy, and infinite gift of grace.


PRAYER

Lord, when I am tempted to think, “It’s not fair,” point me back to the cross. There you took upon Yourself all that I deserved. I was hopelessly lost without you. Help me to see the preciousness of your mercy, and outrageousness of Your grace that as more that I could possibly ask or imagine.



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