God, Be Merciful to Me

If you had, at this very moment, the choice between receiving justice or mercy in your life, which one would you choose? Your initial reaction, without thinking too deeply, may be that of choosing justice, and that makes perfect sense. After all, we live in a country that prides itself on dispensing justice to its citizens. And those efforts should be applauded because they benefit all of us. Justice for all is one of the basic fundamentals America was founded upon.Certainly, in order to accurately answer the initial question, you would want to know the circumstances. For instance, are we speaking about justice in a legal sense, justice among coworkers, justice between friends or family, or something more profound? It might help if we kept a simple definition in mind of justice and mercy. Think about the fact that justice would be receiving only what you do deserve; whereas, mercy is receiving what you do not deserve. Does that help?If we were viewing nothing but the physical world, justice is a good thing, but mercy could be better. To illustrate that, let’s say you are shopping for a gift and you pick up an item that you accidentally drop. The item breaks, and you realize that you need to take it to the checkout counter to pay for it. In that situation, would you want the clerk to charge you for the item, or would you rather hear the clerk say, “Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to pay anything?” In short, would you prefer justice, which means you pay for the item, or mercy, which means you pay nothing for the broken item? Do you want what you deserve or what you don’t deserve?Of course, the real question is: When you stand before God in judgment, do you want to receive only what you deserve, which would be justice, or do you want God to extend what you don’t deserve, which would be mercy? That’s what we want to explore throughout this study together.I pray that by the time we conclude our thoughts, we will all come to the point of saying: “God, be merciful to me.”

--Dennis Stackhouse