But for the Grace of God…
By Jennifer L Griffith
I don’t tend to watch movies on a regular basis. However, I just watched a movie about two girls arrested in Thailand who unknowingly packed drugs in their carry-on while boarding a plane. They were sentenced to 33 years in the Thailand prison filled with mice, roaches, and deceptive people who gloried in the misery of others.
Most people think that we’re smart enough to avoid situations where we are judged based on false assumptions. And as you try to defend yourself the consequences spiral downward out of your control. Instead of trusting those who are charged with protecting the innocent, seeking justice, healing the sick, etc, you are under their scrutiny because of the lies fed to them by people you don’t even know, or circumstances that didn’t fit the mold. Or, even the lies that conjure up in order to hide what they know is true. (This list could go on.)
In reality, this sort of injustice has taken place since sin entered the world. We’re all just one step or breath away from getting sucked into a situation that could lead to injustice. The Great Accuser feeds people deceptive words that are believed without merit, or any evidence based on fact. This happens everyday, and for some, even after death. Though our steps may not take us to a filthy foreign or domestic prison, we could end up in one in our mind if we’re not careful. And in the age of distorted information, it’s easy for anyone to fall on the wrong side of assumptions, whether they are made against you, or you make them against another.
The good news is that God is sovereign and His blessings flow through all the muck for those who trust Him with the journey and the outcome. His grace is sufficient for the moment, no matter how dire. He offers up peace amid the injustices of the world. He allows them to touch our lives to expand our own mercy and grace for others who suffer the same. And, God doesn’t believe the Great Accuser. God defends His honor as He works in our heart through the circumstances that He allowed, not caused. (Think Job) He will never leave us, nor forsake us, even when falsely or rightfully accused. When everyone around you assumes the worst, God knows and sees the best—He knows the Truth, and causes all things to work for the good for those called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28) He uses it all to grow us UP, closer to Him.
At the end of the movie, one friend fell to her knees in front of the judge. She took all the blame for a crime neither had committed. She begged for mercy for her friend, which set her friend free…free from the bitter walls of confinement. Free from mistreatment. Free from the accusations that had surrounded her in prison. Free to be with those who love her, know her, and who lift her up. Yet by paying a price neither deserved, the girl left behind showed a sense of freedom she had never experienced before in her life.
The movie-makers may not have realized it, but that movie painted a picture of mercy and grace. Yet, Jesus who knew no sin, the unblemished lamb, took on the ultimate punishment of all. He died for all who believe and receive. He was wrongly accused based on false assumptions. He was sentenced to die on a cross. He interceded and continues to plead on our behalf. He begs God for mercy for those taken in by the Great Accuser. He did it for me, the imperfect one who tries to live for Him daily, yet fails too many times. He did it for those who believe as well as those who lie against us. He did it for those who block truth from others. His grace and forgiveness is there for all who repent and ask for forgiveness. I pray for those taken in fully by the one who offers temporary or instant gratification, but delivers eternal death. We were all there at one time, mocking God, if not with our words, with our actions or pride or ego, etc. We all must forgive those who assault us under the circumstance.
I praise God for delivering me out of an eternal prison surrounded by cockroaches and mice, and for giving me joy in the midst of the battles. I praise God for peace, joy, love, patience, righteousness, hope and truth that He brings to my life. I praise God that He knows the heart of man and loves us anyway. I praise God that He knows!!!!
“There but for the grace of God go I,” as the old saying goes.
Photo Courtesy of Yucel Tellici