With Liberty and Justice for All

Today is a repost from the archives. We are frantically jamming our paraphernalia in second-hand cardboard boxes and trying to prune our furniture footprint to the tune of about half the house size. We will load the truck Monday morning to make the trek. I hope you enjoy this rerun…

With Liberty and Justice for All, Except Me…

…I want mercy.

Sure, I want liberal amounts of liberty but I definitely don’t want justice myself. Ok, maybe I just want justice in those cases where someone has jerked me around. I want the full thrust of the law placed on their shoulders. Guillotine!! I want their culpability exposed and the price paid. Set up a payment plan if needed.

I have no problem with liberty for everyone. WOOHOO! Run, scream and stag jump your little hearts out. I think that all of God’s creation has access to HIM and can make the appropriate choice to receive liberty. FREEDOM!! At the same time I want the rules to be followed to the letter, except, of course, when it comes to me.

In those cases, I want “the mercy of God” to rain down upon me. To shower me as an example of how much God can love a human. I want God to remember that I am, in fact, only human and can not be perfect or even achieve perfection. Given this limitation, in my case it seems justice would be unjust. It just wouldn’t be fair for God to expect me to be anything other than faulty. I am going to slip up and break the rules, and when I do, I want Him to be there with open arms and tons of mercy to welcome me back. No, Sir, justice at this point would be criminal. To look at my repentant soul and say there is a consequence and a price to my actions is ridiculous; over the top.

However, when that jerk takes my parking spot at the large chain-store designed to steal away my soul with materialism, I immediately think that he is acting completely inhumanely and should have to face his shortcomings so that he sees the need to fix his flaw. The daily flagrant disregard for God and man by others causes me to boil. I rant about how people can possibly go on acting as if there is no authority.

They steal, kill, slander and cheat. Sure, occasionally I might accidently falter with a few of these things but God knows I am just flesh and bone.  And, where a decent amount of justice would straighten out a lot of society, I always think that for me a healthy dose of mercy is in order. Wink wink nod nod

The problem is I am not the one in charge of this justice or mercy thing. To determine what justice is you have to be just. There is only one who is just and that is God. He alone can be the measure of justice. So it turns out that if I am looking so earnestly for justice, then I am usurping Gods position. He knows what justice looks like in all of my situations and He is acting accordingly. He definitely doesn’t need me to tell Him He missed something when surveying my life circumstances. The bottom line is that God can handle it. The cool thing is that He is the only one who can. Coincidently, God happens to be the one who has the great stores of mercy I’m looking for. In the end, if I manage to garner some of that mercy, it turns out it had nothing to do with me after all. It was just Him being who He is.


Hey, God, it’s me. Help me see everyone else and their faults like I see my own. Then let me see myself and my own faults like I see everyone else. After that, God, give me your mercy to help me survive the justice I earned for taking liberties with your grace.

Do you have a different standard of justice and mercy for others than you do for yourself?

8 thoughts on “With Liberty and Justice for All

Add yours

  1. “I am usurping God’s position”. I so need this reminder! I have been talking to my kids who want to “help” me by adding their comments to my lecture when I am disciplining one of their siblings or even by taking on the role of disciplinarian. I keep telling them that they are usurping my position when they do this. But I have to admit, I do the exact same thing to God, especially with them. Ufda my!

    I also have this crazy desire to watch “Nacho Libre.”

    Dear Lord, please help the Hagermans as they move. Keep their journey safe and keep their car untouched by any other vehicles. Please help them adjust to living in closer quarters and be preparing people’s hearts in their new “neighborhood.” In Jesus’ name I pray.


    1. Thanks so much for the prayer. I had my fam come in to read it. We have seen Nacho Libre somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 times probably equally split between Spanish and English. Ridiculously awesome.


  2. Ken, I think the main thing is that I definitely don’t want God to be “fair” with me. I wouldn’t like that result. I definitely want liberty. I don’t want to be on the receiving end of His justice. Fortunately, Christ took on that justice Himself.


  3. Hope the trek has gone well, Ken! Thinking of y’all.

    And yes! I think that others should have to walk the line, while being sure to give me lots of room because I’m “only human” afterall…


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