Engaging the Culture
1/26/15 at 04:34 PM 33 Comments

Mercy & Judgment . . . A Parable

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“There is always hope!” Emily said warmly.

Is there? It wasn’t that she didn’t believe it, or that her friend wasn’t sincerely motivated by a desire to be helpful. It’s just that those words at that time sounded a little hollow. All she really wanted was a hug.

Details of the car accident were sketchy. They said alcohol had been served at the party, but there was no evidence that Danny had been driving while intoxicated. He wasn’t really a bad kid. He did things wrong, of course. All kids did. He just needed more time to grow up. He needed more time to find out what was really important in life. After all, hadn’t that been true for her? She came to faith after making a lot of mistakes. Lots of people she knew had the same experience.

Emily had tried to be encouraging. “There is always hope,” she whispered. “It’s said that people’s whole lives flash before their minds in the last seconds. Maybe Danny made peace with God at the last moment.”

Maybe. But somehow, the words didn’t really sound hopeful. She loved her son. Nothing would ever change that. Not even death. God was forgiving – she knew that for sure. Danny just needed more time . . . but, there was no more time left.

“Thank you,” she told her friend after giving her a hug. “I certainly need hope.”

When the pastor walked in, everyone sat down quietly. He moved slowly passed the closed casket on his way to the podium at the front of the room. He was new at the church, but he seemed sincere and empathetic when she spoke to him before the funeral.

“Please, Lord. Give him something hopeful to say,” she prayed. But what could he say? Her son was dead. The time he needed was no longer there. Wasn’t the Bible clear that after death comes the judgment?

“This is truly a sad day,” the pastor began. “Death is always an unwelcomed guest, but even more so when it comes to someone so young. I spoke to Danny’s mother earlier this morning, and she mentioned her love for her son along with his need for ‘a little more time.’ Let me begin with some words of encouragement for her and for all of us. This comes from the book of James in the Bible –

‘Mercy triumphs over judgment!’”

What did he say? “Mercy triumphs over judgment?”  Is that true? Does the Bible really say that? Is it possible that God’s love and mercy continue after death? If it does, there might still be hope. A hope she could actually hold onto.

“Thank you, Pastor,” she said with tears in her eyes. “Your words have encouraged my heart!”

He carefully took her hand in his and responded kindly. “I’m so glad to hear that. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my years of ministry, it’s that God is much more gracious than most people think.”

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