The Merciful Judge

A few months ago I was pulled over by the police for driving 30 miles per hour in a 20 miles per hour zone. I was given a citation, not only for driving over the speed limit but also for driving with an out of state driver’s license. I thought about playing the, “my pregnant wife is at home on bed rest, and I’m looking after her so I haven’t had time to switch my license over” card.  However, I decided to own my mess rather than attempt the easy way out.

When I appeared in court, I signed in at the registration desk and was shuffled into a court room with many others, with instructions to turn off our cell phones and wait for the judge. It was my first time in court and I didn’t really know what to expect. Part of me felt a sense of guilt beyond my, “crime”. I thought, “what if I see someone I know?”  “What if they go to the church where I’m a pastor?”

When the white haired judge came into the room, he smiled and cracked a few jokes. He explained what the procedure would be and said he would try to get through everything as fast as possible. I was immediately struck by his kind demeanor. As he called each person forward, he spoke to them quietly as not to expose their reason for being there.

However, despite his attempt to “cover” each person, I could hear each conversation. And, it seemed that with each person, he looked for reasons to issue the least possible penalty. It was evident that he genuinely wanted to show as much mercy as possible. When one particular young man went forward, the judge noticed that he was assigned to the wrong precinct. Apparently, that was reason enough for the judge to say, “you’re free to go!”. Just like that, he was a off the hook and, “went on his way rejoicing”.

Finally, it was my turn. I handed the judge my citation and sure enough, he looked for reasons to lessen my fine.

“Are you a student?”

“No” (perhaps if I were, I would not be required to get a new license) 

“Would  you like to pay the full amount or would you like a payment plan?”

As with everyone else, the judge probed for reasons to show kindness. And, as I sat there watching the judge issue as much mercy as his job would permit, I felt tears come to my eyes. I thought to myself, “that’s the heart of our Heavenly Father”. We have a God who longs to show kindness.  Amanda Cooke in her song, Mercy perfectly declares, “You delight in showing mercy”.  

Like the kind, white haired judge who clearly desired to show mercy rather than judgment, we have a Righteous Judge who takes great pleasure in showing kindness, mercy and grace. However, He has no need to search for a reason. He has provided the reason and that is, “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).  There is no need to, “make a case” for yourself. The case was settled when He said, “it is finished”.  We only have need to believe it and receive it.

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