An Inconvenient Mercy

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Luke 10:36-37

My son was ZAPped. Zeros Aren’t Permitted is a program run by his math teacher. She is fastidious about her students keeping all their assignments completed and submitted on time. When they fall behind, they receive a ZAP notice which requires the student with delinquent work to report to the math class for about ninety minutes after school. Recently, my son, whose name shall remain secret to protect his guilt, was ZAPped because of a “zero” or three in his teacher’s grade book. Have you ever noticed how these things happen at the most inconvenient times?

Because it was the end of the quarter, the students were given a day off for teacher planning. Therefore, my son’s ZAP session was scheduled to begin on a Friday morning when only the teachers were at school. While all the good little boys and girls were enjoying extra hours of sleep, a three-day weekend, and peaceful parents, I drove to school while sipping coffee and delivering an impassioned and inconvenience-inspired lecture to my student, “Don’t you know I have better things to do today than drive you to school and wait for you to finish homework that was due two weeks ago?” Does mercy ever bump into you when you’ve got better things to do?

While dialoguing with my ZAPped conscience, it came to me: ZAP is really mercy. Mercy is when one doesn’t get something bad that is deserved. Students who earned zeros were given academic mercy, yet somehow, we perceived it as a massive inconvenience.

The Good Samaritan was mercifully inconvenienced. He risked his life, took time away from his journey, and spent his own money, but he did something much more than the sum of all those parts—he was a true neighbor to his enemy.

Have you considered the massive inconvenience of Christ’s mercy? God-haters, who earned by their wages of sin something far worse than zeros, were given the most expensive mercy ever purchased. For that mercy, Jesus didn’t risk His life, He gave it. For that mercy, the Master didn’t take time away from His journey—it was His journey. For mercy’s sake, He didn’t spend His money, He spilled His blood. The sum of all these parts is that while we were still His enemies, Christ died for us. If it had been convenient, would it be mercy?

As you pursue life bent towards convenience, remember: His is an inconvenient mercy.

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