Thursday, October 6, 2011
Free of Charge by Miroslv Volf
What do we have that is not already yours?"
-Lyrics from Lord I Offer My Life To You-
Uncle Winston recommended I read this book because it had many references to other books and popular culture. Well, it's true, and it's a wonderful read. My proper book review for it is on IntoTheBook.net but here, I want to talk about my personal response to the book.
Honestly, the part that struck me the most was the section on Giving, because I realised that yes, we don't own anything, not even our lives because God is the one who sustains our lives. And it made me sad that I haven't been able to give more, to be a conduit for others. In fact, I've been stingy with my time and words, especially when it comes to exams, and I start to focus too much on studying.
The part I struggled with most on the other hand, was the part of forgiveness. I'm by nature, a very argumentative person, as I said before. I'm quick to take offense, and even as I say the words "It's ok, it doesn't matter", my heart is screaming at the unfairness of it all while my face smiles. It takes a lot for me to properly forgive.
But while I was reading this book, I think God gave me a glimpse of Justice and Mercy.
God is Just. When Jesus was on earth, he delivered the harshest sermons you could imagine. He told us to pluck out our eye if it caused us to sin. He said to call your brother "racca" is akin to murder. He threw the table of those of commercialised the House of God. Yes, our God is a God of Justice. If you look at my review of Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, you can see that I firmly believe that thre are cases when the law is brokern, where Justice should be administered and not let go by merely using the word "forgiveness".
But God is also incredibly merciful. I was reminded of this when I suddenly recalled my friendship with my closest, oldest and dearest friend. i'm not sure what quite moved me to imagine: if one day, my friend were to tell me she did some wrong (maybe against me, maybe not), and asked me if I judged her, what would I say?
I realised that I couldn't judge her. My friendship with her is so deep that I see her life in totality, from when we first met, and not by incidents that happened. I wouldn't be able to judge because I love her too much. And I think, that might be what God's mercy would be like. He loves us so much he found a way to spare us his terrible judgement.
And his judgement would be terrible. As I further reflected on my frienship with my best friend, I realised that if someday I do judge her, it would be terrible. And us being fallible humans, it would probably ruin our frienship for good. You see, I would judge her in totality. And everything she did, no matter how small, would carry the same weight as any huge crime she might have committed. Perhaps that's why Jesus said that whoever breaks the smallest commandment breaks the entire law. Because God loves us so much, that in His perfect Judgement, he judges us as a whole and all sin, no matter how we try to classify it, maybe as venial sins or mortal sins, it would all just all be sins in His eyes.
And the glimpse of His Justice and Mercy fills me with awe, fear and love. Yes, love because He is love and it;s shown in His justice mingled with mercy.