Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Great Devotional (and oh, so true)

From The Purpose Driven Life

Michael and Me
by John Fischer

I picked up my newspaper this morning and saw the headlines: “Jackson Acquitted on All 10 Counts,” and my immediate thought had nothing to do with Michael Jackson. Instead, for some reason I saw my name there. I saw the headline: “Fischer Acquitted on All Counts.” And here’s the deal: I know I’m guilty.

That’s the big difference between Michael and me. MJ will most likely now appear exonerated. I’m sure statements along the lines of justice being done will be prevalent from his camp. My acquittal is much different. I don’t want the subject of justice to even come up. Justice will not be in my best interest primarily because I know I’m guilty. My acquittal has little to do with fame, race, or any of the issues we will be hearing about in the next few days. My acquittal has everything to do with mercy. It was all the judge’s doing. I’m still pretty much baffled by the whole thing, to be honest. I didn’t even request it. He acquitted me because he convicted His Son in my place. And since justice was already done on the cross, I can now go free. Like Michael Jackson.

Every day we get to breathe is another day we don’t deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve; mercy is not getting what we do deserve, and the incredible thing is: we get both. This is not only an important element to our relationship with God (we wouldn’t have one without this); it’s also an important part of our message to the world.

A big part of our mission in the world is to announce God’s mercy, along with an acute awareness of our own guilty verdict. Without both sides of this story, people quickly get the wrong idea about Christians — that they are people who are better than everyone else, or at least they think they are. We would do well never to talk about justice being done without accompanying statements of gratitude for our own undeserved acquittal.

This is why I do not want to look at the headlines about Michael Jackson and shake my head. Instead, I let out a sigh of relief, because that’s me, too, in that picture. That’s me, acquitted of my real guilt — an acquittal that makes me the most fortunate good-for-nothing on the face of the earth. And it’s the gospel that propels me to tell this story to everyone I meet, because, in reality, the world is merely full of other good-for-nothings like me for whom Christ died. The only real difference is who knows it, and who doesn’t.


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