A few weeks ago I was driving around town taking care of some errands when an announcement came over the radio that an online child pornography "business" was being shut down and its operators prosecuted. Then they reported something that nearly caused me to have a wreck out of disgust and anguish. You see, part of this online child porn ring included videos of abuse occurring on children younger than 18 months old. My gut wretched at such horrific news.
I turned off the radio, rage began to still in my spirit for these criminals. Sadness over took me as I though of the innocent children. I whispered to God that it was good that I am not Him. My anger burned hot against these sexual predators. I asked God how He could withhold His wrath from men like these. How could He stand silent as these abusers performed their horrible acts of violation on these precious, young children? I whispered these thoughts of pain and confusion throughout the remainder of my day.
God hasn't specifically answered my questions... yet. But He did remind me of something that I far too often fail to remember: I am no less broken and in need of God's grace than those child abusers. Oh, I like to see myself in a different light, placing myself 'higher up the chain' of degenerates, but the truth remains: I need God's grace just as much as anyone else.
Two men went to the temple....
"The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer : 'I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I'm certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income."
Luke 18:11-12 NLT
If we read on, we will find the tax collector standing at a distance. He dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.'
Then Jesus Said:
"I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
Luke 18:14 NLT
You see, it's hard for me to look at men like those in the beginning of this artical and not think of myself as "better" than they are. I cringe and wince at the idea of God showing mercy and forgiveness to them for such acts of brutality and perversion. I want God to strike those men dead, with no hope of redemption. But to damn men is to assume a role I was never intended to have. I am not God.
Some people live their lives striving to be better than others or they may think they are superior to others. This usually happens when they compare themselves with others which can lead to negative traits such as jealousy and pride. Therefore, the only person I should try to be better than is the person I was yesterday. (unknown author)
I don't understand why God chooses to show mercy to those who are unmerciful or kindness and grace to the cruel. But I do know this: He has shown mercy and grace to me; a needy, selfish, and sometimes cruel human being. While I may not behave the same as those abusive people, my sin is no 'better' than theirs.
Aren't you thankful that I am not God?