Justice & Mercy

I had a really cool dream last night.

So I was speeding along the highway, which NEVER happens 😇, and I drive past a cop car with 2 officers inside, male & female. They look at me and indicate they want me to pull over. They didn’t look angry; I just knew I was about to be held accountable for breaking the speed limit. So I’m pulled over, waiting for them to come up to my window. When they came up to my window, the man said nothing the whole time, but smiled happily with tears in his eyes. The woman handed me an envelope which included a speeding ticket, and a check from the man paying for it. I looked at them feeling thankful and REALLY confused, and the woman said kindly, “It’s because you’re a Christian.”

I wondered how he knew, and then I remembered I have a magnet on my car that indicates my faith.

I wondered, why didn’t he just not write me a ticket? ..Instead of writing it and then paying for it on his own. Why didn’t he just disregard the traffic law? ..Because I clearly didn’t want to follow the law and he clearly didn’t want to punish me for it.

And then I thought, well, I shouldn’t be questioning his actions, because I really deserved it anyway and he did something really kind for meSomeone who broke the law which is his job to uphold. I really shouldn’t be trying to figure out how to minimize my accountability in this situation, or blame him for not planning better for my failure, and I really am in no place to pass judgment.. but he certainly is!

Then I thought, maybe he already wrote out the ticket and couldn’t get rid of it because it was too late and there was a record, so he did something to help me out.

Either way it’s still amazing that he paid for it himself, and I am indebted to him for his kindness.

There is so much to learn from this dream. Travel with me mentally for a second. Let’s change the male officer in this dream to God, the speeding to any sin, and the officer paying the ticket to Jesus dying on the cross. Read the dream again. It’s the same deal. And people usually ask the same questions about God when it comes to sin & judgment!

Q: Why can’t God just make us not sin?
A: Because we are not his puppets. He can use us to accomplish His will (especially when we are willing), but he gave us free will. Love would lose its value if we had no choice. We choose to love. We choose to hate.

Q: Why doesn’t God just disregard the law?
A: Because the law is right and not worthy of disregarding. To disregard it is to make the law out to be unjust, and it is not.

Q: Why doesn’t God just decide not to punish anyone instead of having to save them?
A: Because punishment is what we deserve for violating His laws. There is a penalty that must be paid for every broken rule. To have no one pay the penalty would make him unjust.

This is where mercy and grace come in.

  • Mercy is defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”
  • Grace is defined as “(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings”

Like this situation, our sin is real and could not be undone. But God decided to make a way to pay the price so that we don’t have to. He had mercy on us and showed us grace through Jesus dying on the cross.

Like this situation, God is overjoyed to be able to save us. When Jesus died on the cross He died for every person, making salvation available to every person. But He can only save us if we truly accept it. And I’m not talking about the kind of acceptance that says “Yeah, I know it’s true, but I’ll live however I want.” That would make us no different from Satan, who knows the truth but doesn’t love or honor God. Christ made it clear that if you’re not for Him, you’re against Him. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30). He wants to show us there is no sitting on the fence.

What can I learn from this dream? If this happened in real life, would the officer’s act of kindness stop me from speeding in the future? I don’t know. I really like to get places quickly 😳. If I weren’t devoted or loyal to this officer, I’d probably keep speeding. But if I were devoted or loyal to this officer, I would likely want to honor him and the law he is enforcing. After all, he already showed his loyalty to me in what he was willing to do for me when I was breaking the law, with no guarantee I wouldn’t break it again! Who else did this? “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). This is reckless love.. putting it all on the line in hopes that love will be reciprocated.

But is there a middle ground? Can I sort of speed, and sort of honor this officer? So I can please myself and show him I am thankful to him at the same time? ..No, I can’t. If I honor this officer I will disregard my speeding, and if I speed I will disregard this officer. It’s one or the other. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24). Clearly this verse applies to more than money.

If I were loyal to this officer I would also try to understand that if he supports the laws then they are probably good and there to protect me. After all, I might trust his judgment and that he cares for me. The same goes for God. His laws are perfect. The difference in my obedience to him is whether I am more concerned with what I want, or honoring him. But if my heart is in the place where all I want is to honor him.. then that’s a really good place to be.

Will you pray with me?

Lord, please grab hold of my heart
Help me see the ways I live for myself
And give them all over to you.
Help me become an honorable person
Who pursues justice in my actions
And shows grace to others.
I thank you for what you did for me
Even though I don’t deserve it.
You committed to me
Before I even knew who you were.
Thank you, Jesus
Amen

In Christ’s Love,
Christina

Did you make any other cool connections from my dream? Go ahead and post a comment about it 😊

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