What Justice Taught Me about Mercy

I really like my friend Jean’s dog, Justice. A Golden Retriever, he’s handsome, loving, and loyal. I look forward to going to Jean’s home, not just because I enjoy her company, but because I get to pet Justice. 

The last time I visited, Justice came bounding around the corner of the house as soon as I pulled into the driveway. Noticing that he’d stopped about 20 yards away, I called to him. 

“Hey, Justice. C’mere buddy, I want to pet you.” 

Justice’s tail wagged. His tongue hung out the side of his mouth in a happy, slobbery grin. But he didn’t budge from his spot. 

“What’s wrong with Justice?” I asked. 

“Oh, he won’t come,” Jean said. “We have an invisible fence. . . Of course, he isn’t wearing his collar, but it doesn’t matter. He won’t cross the line.” 

Justice and I have a lot in common. 

Some days I romp in the fields of freedom, loving and being loved. I share my faith with joy and step into opportunities God gives me with bold abandon. 

Other days I wear the collar of past sins, failures, and insecurities. I allow myself to become entangled in the yoke of legalistic bondage I could never satisfy. I hesitate to share my faith because the choke chain of imperfection silences the mercy truth on my lips. I second-guess God-given opportunities because of the suffocating noose of fear. I'm afraid to cross boundaries of my own making.

But in God’s kingdom, there are no collars or invisible fences. 

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,” the apostle Paul proclaimed, “and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1). 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1). 

“And he that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new!”” (Rev. 21:5). 

What collar is keeping you from walking into God’s plan for your life? If Jesus is your Savior, you don’t have to wear it any more. 

What invisible fence is holding you back? If Christ is Lord of your life, it no longer has the power to limit you. Take the collar off. Step over the invisible fence. Walk into the purpose for which God created you. 

“So if the Son sets you free,” Jesus promised, “you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

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