Justice Smiles and Asks No More


Justice has always been my motivator. Even since I was little, at the sight of injustice my little spirit would rage. My dad dubbed me the 'defender-of-the-weak' when I was around 6 because of my consistent issues with fighting with bullies, and the few black eyes I came home with. I would puff out my chest and defend the kids that were getting picked on. Did I get hurt? Yes, but justice prevailed! This caused me to get in the middle of situations and take responsibilities that weren't  mine to take. Pain and hurt ensued. And it often had left me wondering where God was in all of it.

This need for justice hasn't left me. This week I've felt that weight. There's hurt and it's not right. I have felt the weight of it all. Even when they aren't my stories to share, my heart feels such heaviness. This week I hid, laying in my closet staring at the ceiling wondering "Where are you God? What are you doing? Why haven't you moved yet?" I've met rage this week in ways I haven't in a long time...these chapters were needed.

God has been challenging my heart in this. He's been asking me if I am willing to believe certain attributes of him. If I believe in a God who really is Just, and really is merciful all at the same time? And If I believe he has it under control. Do I think he really does protect the innocent? Do I think he really is able to heal? To be honest, most days I question it. This week I've had to convince myself "No, God is Good. No God Didn't Forget. No, He cares even more than you do."

In reading chapter 9, it talks a lot about the prodigal son and the way that the older brother who stayed home had bitterness in his heart over the celebration of his wayward siblings return.   This particular passage of the book stuck out to me this week:

"To find out what was going on the older son [in the prodigal son story] summoned one of the servants. How interesting that it was more natural for him to get his information from a servant than to go directly to his father. When the servant told him that his brother had come home and his father killed the fattened calf and received him, the older son "Became angry and was not willing to go in" (Luke 15:28) a son who knows he is accepted doesn't get angry and refuse to go in. Still, I stand up for that bitter older brother with discomforting passion. Good girls think there should be consequences for the actions of the prodigal, not a party. (Chapter 9, 39% in kindle)

The book continues in showing how the older son wasn't innocent. He was acting in his own sin as well. He could have been a part of the party, the father met him as well outside of the door and invited him in,  he was not short-handed his inheritance and would receive the same blessing as his brother but his bitterness and resentment kept him out.

Even in summarizing that piece of text I see into my heart. See, I'm fine with the prodigal having a party, just like I'm fine with restoration of relationships, and salvation to come to unbelievers, but I cringe at those words "the same blessing." I am often outside that door like the older son, because truth is, I want a better blessing.  I don't want 'them' to be able to experience the great freedom of Christ after what they've done. No, not in its fullness. I've convinced myself that I've done better and while I want them to have a party-I want a bigger one. Even in mercy, I want it to be ruled by 'Justice'. Justice is the King in my system, and Mercy is the Queen. She adds softness to the punch-but the punch is still coming. (I seem to consistently ignore the fact that I deserve one huge punch as well.)

I'm not sure why I would often times rather die on the hill of 'what I deem right' rather than embrace Gods good news. Why do I convince myself that my selfish, sinful heart has any capacity to create a correct view of righteousness when the Almighty God has already laid it out for me?

When the question at the end of the chapter was asked "In what ways are you living like a servant rather than a daughter?"  One answer came to mind. "In what ways am I not living like a servant rather than a daughter?" 

Then Chapter 10 happened.

She walks us through the story of Adam and Eve and Eve taking the fruit. 

 "Satan did two things in the garden that are vital to understand as we begin the process of letting go of our girl-made hiding places. First, he convinced Eve she had to do something in order to be something. If you eat the fruit then you will be like God. ... (chapter 10, 42% Kindle)
"The second thing Satan did in the garden is a little trickier  something many people go their whole lives without noticing. Something that makes the difference between living like a good girl and living in freedom....Satan told the woman "you will be like God" (Gen 3:5.) But God had already covered that. In Gen 1:27 God made man and woman in his own image. So what does that mean? It means they were already were like God, made in his likeness, bearing his image. Satan was promising something to them that God had already graciously and lovingly provided. Satan convinced them to forget God's gift and try to work for it instead." (Chapter 10, 43%)

At this point I could just write the whole chapter out. It was wave after wave of truth. It was the gospel. The consequence of Sin. The lies we believe. The inability of us to handle it on our own. The lack of expectation for us to handle it on our own. The entrance of Jesus. The truth about justice and mercy and grace. 

"Here's the truth: aside from accepting Jesus as your personal savior, there is nothing left to do to gain God's favor. Nothing. And that means no thing." (Chp 10, 45%)

I've discovered the risk of embracing this truth. If I embrace that I cannot earn my salvation, that its all by grace and that I deserve hell and full punishment for the horrible things I've done, then that means I have to be willing to believe that God grants that to others as well. I have to believe that Jesus really is enough to cover all sins.  All. Sins.

I love this hymn, but do I believe it ?John Newton says:

Let us wonder; grace and justice 
Join and point to mercy’s store; 
When through grace in Christ our trust is, 
Justice smiles and asks no more: 
He Who washed us with His blood 
Has secured our way to God.

I'm struggling this week. I'm struggling to really decide if Gods love stretches quite that far. If he covers it all. And if Jesus is enough. Yet, in that struggle I'm finding truth. That he is, He has to be. I can't do this on my own.  I'm discovering that I have to embrace that truth, and all that comes with it.

I've always identified myself as a Thompson. And while my name has changed, there are certain attributes of my heritage that I will always identify with. Growing up, my mom would do a powerful thing. She gave me identity in that name. When I was struggling with something she would say "Brittany, Thompson's aren't quitters." and often times after a very powerful pep-talk (my mom delivers an incredible one at that!), she'd end "...And don't you forget, you're a Thompson!"

Now, did I ever quit? Yes. I did. But, because I was a Thompson, I wasn't a quitter. There was a unshakable identity to who I was that no matter my actions, couldn't be taken away. To read the text above-that Adam and Eve were already in the image of God. They already had his last name. To see that I am His which means I carry his name as well. That means I am what he says I am.  I may sin, but I am no longer a sinner. I fail, but I am the daughter of one who always succeeds  I see injustice, but my father is just

My namesake is enough to give me identity.

God has been showing me how rich of a life there is available to me if I would embrace this truth. When thinking a lot about this chapter-I've thought often "how sweet and simple would working in God's garden be?" There were no thorns, there was no death. No sin. All things would live. Even the black thumb of mine would do just fine in a place where God was the master gardener. Such freedom to just be and enjoy all that God did. The work would be life-giving work. The rest would be deep rest.

My heart says "that was then, this is now." Then I hear " No, there's Jesus."

I never understood becoming a new creation, because I always thought it was my job to become it. As in, " I accept Jesus, now I got to work on transforming myself the way that a body builds itself into being something strong." It was my responsibility  This whole week I have been reminded time and time again that God changes my heart. God changes my character. God changes who I am. God makes me a new creation.

God forgives sin, God heals broken. God redeems. Joel 2:25, he will repay what the locusts have eaten. Can God really do that? He can. He does. He will.

Whats there left for me to do?
Worship. Praise. Rejoice. Rest.
And a whole lot of Trust.

I'm excited for the next chapters. To see where this will take us. To Discover Jesus A little Bit more.
Linking up here

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