Blind-Sided by Mercy!
By Pastor Ron Buxton
You must have seen this in the recent news, but it surprised everyone. Just like a blind-side tackle against a defenseless quarterback, it caused the entire audience to gasp in total disbelief. However, this was no violent collision. Ironically, it was the exact opposite! It could best be described as “the hug felt around the world”! And it occurred in the place where it would be least expected: a murder trial in a tense Dallas courtroom.
The recipient of that hug was Amber Guyger. She is the ex-police officer who was just convicted of murdering an unarmed black man in his own apartment. And the giver of that unexpected hug was the victim’s younger brother—a young man named Brandt Jean. It absolutely stunned the courtroom. In fact, sobs from the audience could be heard. Nobody saw it coming. It was a bomb of benevolence. It was an ambush of love. It was a blind-side tackle of mercy!
For those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ, however, this incident is really not so unbelievable. That’s because God’s message of grace and mercy has become a personal experience for them. But, for the uninformed, those two components of grace and mercy are not synonymous, nor easy to believe. Allow me to explain.
God’s grace means that we get what we don’t deserve: a restored relationship with a holy God and a reservation in heaven. However, mercy is the inverse of grace. Mercy means that we don’t get what we deserve: punishment for our sins against God and humanity. Do you see the difference? Grace represents an unmerited reward of commendation, and mercy represents an unmerited removal of condemnation.
Six years ago, I was in Brandt Jean’s “shoes”. That time, however, it was a courtroom in El Paso Texas. And rather than an older brother, it involved my precious step-daughter named Diane. Tragically, neither of the victims should have died. And, amazingly, neither of the courtrooms expected to be “blind-sided” with mercy! You see, just like Brandt Jean, I spoke words of forgiveness in the victim impact statement. My desire was that a man guilty of homicide would encounter pardon and forgiveness from Jesus Christ. I really wanted to see him get “blind-sided” by God’s mercy!
The real reason that most people are shocked when mercy breaks out in these cases is because they don’t understand forgiveness from God’s perspective. Forgiveness does not downplay the offense, excuse the misdeed, nor condone the wrongdoing. God will never declare anybody “innocent” before His throne of judgment! Why? None of us are. He will, however, grant the charge of “not guilty” to those who have trusted Christ’s atonement for them. Why? Because Jesus took the penalty for our sins upon Himself on the cross of Calvary.
It is my prayer that somehow—if you haven’t trusted Christ yet for salvation—He would “blind-side” you with His mercy today! May that courtroom in Dallas remind you of His great love for you—a guilty sinner!