Not enough mercy

20 04 2010

Installment two from my episode with the police…

I was guilty. I was driving 18 mph over the speed limit. I didn’t have my Florida registration in the car. When the officer saw me, I was not wearing my seat belt. Regardless of my intentions or past driving record, on that morning I was guilty as charged.

As I sat in the car waiting for the officer to check my record I found myself praying. I acknowledged that I was wrong, yet I also desired mercy. I didn’t want to be treated as my offenses deserved. Andrew was curious so I was trying to teach him that the police are not bad and that we want them to enforce the rules because it keeps people safe. At the same time, I didn’t want him to enforce the rules on me…

When he finally shared that he was overlooking the fact that I didn’t have my registration, wasn’t wearing my seat belt,  was speeding in a school zone, and was also reducing my offense from 18 mph to 6mph I should have been grateful. I wasn’t.

I expected a full pardon! So what that now I only owed $100+ when it could have been much more! He saw my flawless driving record, I told him it was an honest mistake. How dare he… hold me accountable for my offenses… ouch.

How dare me? What gives me the right to demand mercy, much less more mercy. The sentence itself is a paradox; because if I expect or demand it, it ceases to be mercy. What I am asking for is fairness based on my perspective. I surely didn’t want pure fairness because pure fairness would have me in serious trouble.

I find myself wrestling with God over this same issue… I tend to demand mercy. Sometimes a light will go on and I will realize that I messed up. As soon as I am aware that I made a mistake and I have acknowledged it, I expect all consequences to be removed and to be completely loosed. I am arrogant enough to believe that all I have to do is realize that God was right and then He is obligated to ignore my offense… to offer mercy.

I don’t parent that way. I don’t treat others that way. Ironically, more often than not God does treat me that way yet I shake my fist and believe that I deserve more mercy.

I deserved death, He provided life. I deserved estrangement, He provided relationship. I deserved captivity, He provided freedom.

Thanks be to God for His profound mercy and ridiculous grace.

Not enough mercy? How about, not enough gratefulness!