What We Deserve

A story is told of a mother who once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.  "But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy."  "But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied.  "Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for."  "Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman's son (Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984).

This story very well describes what mercy means. To put it simply, mercy is not getting the punishment we deserve for our actions.  There was a time when we were all in the son’s shoes.  As soon as we sinned we fell short of God’s glory and we stepped into a place where we deserved death.  Death was the “wages” that we earned through our poor decisions (Romans 6:23).

Thankfully, God decided to have mercy on us.  As Titus 3:5-6 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

What an incredible blessing it is to receive mercy when we deserved death for our sins!  Let’s be all the more dedicated and diligent to live a life close to the Lord.  We owe Him our lives; it’s what He deserves from us.