I had an ordinary day yesterday. I hit the snooze button 3x because I was listening to my boys get their own breakfast and chit chat over pancakes and get their laundry out of the dryer and it was just too wonderful to interrupt. And I was lazy. I made dinner early and felt awesome. I spent an hour alone with my oldest child, listening to him talk about computer programs and gaming strategies. I went to my friend’s house and curled up on her couch and she listened to me spew out my frustrations and successes without interruption. I watched grown adults pelt kids with dodge balls. I had a heated argument with a fourteen-year-old over socks. Socks. I fed the dogs, fed the dishwasher, fed the dryer, fed my family. How blessed I am that these things are ordinary and how shameful that I consider many of them a burden.
As a Jesus follower that is the only logical conclusion I can come to.
I have many thoughts on the death penalty, but here is just one.
During Jesus’ Sermon On the Mount he tells his followers,”You know that tradition that says if you kill someone, with or without intent, you will go before the judge? Well from now on if you’re even angry with someone you’re going before the judge.” (my dorky paraphrase of Matthew 5)
(scratching my head)
Sometimes it’s easy to take something challenging our Shepherd says and think, “Well, he couldn’t have meant it THAT way, he must have meant…”
Well, what if he really does mean what he says?
Are we SURE we want to be judge?
One of the most intense sections of The Shack for me was when Mack was invited to sit on the judgement seat. Who is he judging? Um, only God himself. God, who let’s murders live. God, who created man with the ability to perform evil acts. God, who lets children be tortured and serial killers roam. He panics, saying he doesn’t have the ability to be such a judge, to which the response is,
“Oh, that’s not true. You have already proven yourself quite capable.”
There are so many powerful parts of that story, but this is the one that shook me to the core. It was one of the many pieces of truth that eventually turned my heart towards radical non-violence.
“You know that tradition that says ‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth?’ From here on out, don’t even stand against that evil person. I’m telling you to remain completely vulnerable.”
Are we sure we want to be judge? I wouldn’t take a million dollars to kick God off that seat, put on a black robe and hold the gavel. How many times have been angry even in this last week alone? How many times have I heart murdered my own family?
My question wasn’t ‘does she deserve the death penalty?’ The truth is that none of us are getting what we deserve.
That’s called mercy, my friends.