Justice, Mercy and Grace

“Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Justice.

In the early days from the bible, this was important so as to avoid the family of the victim to inflict further harm on the rest of the family members of the murderer. There were cities of refuge where they could flee for safety.

“These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites and for foreigners residing among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there.” ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭35:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It is like a girl who stole something valuable.

Justice is for the girl to restitute with the same value, spend some time in solitary confinement and even pay a higher price according and subject to the law. Mercy is when the complainant will forgive the young girl, withdraw the case and let her go. However, Grace is when the complainant will have the compassion to not just forgive – but more than that adopt this young woman as their own daughter… as their own. Not just to forgive, but to provide and protect, to nourish and cherish.

I was molested when I was in my grade school. I was playing inside my playmate’s house when her older brother did something inappropriate for a child at that age. I can vividly remember the perverted act and hear the small voice of my young friend, “stay away from him, do not come near him.”

This was repeated when I entered high school by another young man, another neighbor of ours in the compound where we all grew up. Confused and in anguish, when I heard that he got another girl pregnant and forced to marry at young age. I went into depression, hostility then to a complete nervous breakdown.

After the nervous breakdown, my memory went like going into a coma – I cannot remember anything, I do not want to do anything with it, I do not and will not remember why or how it happened. It was a self imposed amnesia – a wall I build around me.

Only when I learned that the first step to healing and recovery is to admit that I am powerless to my insanity and that my life have become unmanageable. Loosing two jobs in a row, debt after debt, from mall shopping to online shopping, addiction goes on and on until I want for more and more – even to the point of pornography and masturbation. I lived a big lie of looking at my best on the outside – everything a single lady could dream of, security, material possessions, position, fame, fortune. I came to a point when I told my self there is more to life than all of these. To pay the bills, working for twelve hours, getting barely four hours of sleep, getting vacation, sex here and there, sex everywhere… then go back and do it all over again.

I cannot forget what I read from the book of Stephen Covey called ‘The Seven Habits…”. That stage in life from self actualization to self transcendence. There is more to achieving and living our hopes and dreams, there’s something more bigger than ourselves.

When Pastor Bong Saquing shared about his experience in going up the statue of liberty in the United States, where they waited for hours in a long queue line, then went high up by the stairs only to hear that they will only stay for a few minutes just for taking photos and sneak peak from the top. He said there was nothing there except for steel and darkness, what you will only see from the top is the same thing that you will see down stairs, the only difference is the height. In life he added, we desire for something but when we get it, we say to ourselves is this all there is – that’s it? We are never content.

To cover the embarrassment of all I did and what happened to me when I was young. For all the childhood innocence and joy that I had missed. I strived to finished studies, but instead of pursuing my love for art and literature. My mother taught me to pursue business course so I can get into a bank, get a job fast after college and help back my family financially. Back then I didn’t know yet that we are only second family of my father, that my mother was a mistress – we as a family can get by but I saw my parent’s struggles to make ends meet.

Now I am here, is this all there is to life?

Pastor Rick Warren said, there is more to life than here and now.

I was miserable, bitter, full of resentment. I compare my self with others who gets ahead of me. I used people for my own benefit – I was full of pride from self reliance and self sufficiency. I was too selfish to focus on my own hurt but was blinded to see all the hurt I have inflicted on others. I was needy, greedy, longing for more and more, never satisfied, ingratitude… for it is easier to fall into pity party and victim mentality rather than owning up to my actions, being accountable and accepting my responsibilities. I need a Savior – if I can trust Jesus with my soul in eternity, how can’t I trust Him for the small areas of my life such as career and love life?

I committed the sin of playing god, god junior – of knowing good and evil since the day Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden.

That I know what’s best for me… but I don’t.

All my life I thought my greatest need is love and attention, from an absent father to the anxiety disorders of my mother. Only now I realized, I had the deep need for confrontation, for justice maybe because I was wronged. Maybe that’s the reason why I was so angry even with mundane things – work emails, arguments after arguments, it was never easy, relentless, it was an endless, blinded pursuit.

I am the girl who was forgiven, adopted, provided for and protected, all through the years were nourished and cherished. That’s what Jesus did and continue to do in my life and yours today. Only with the eyes of faith will I be able to see all of God’s truth.

Will I seek for justice?

No, my greatest need is Grace.

One of those boat tours at El Nido Palawan. Ganito lang pala ka simple sumaya (all along, all this time, it’s just so simple to be happy)… I once told my self.

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