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Fairness is at the heart of our belief system. We live by the balancing scales. We believe wrongs should be righted. We long for justice and right to triumph.

But this desire for fairness, however praiseworthy, leads us into a cul-de-sac of misery, for there is no way out. We want fairness, but we deserve punishment, for no one has done right, not even one (Rom 3:10). The ‘right thing’ would be to receive judgment and punishment – not only for the criminal, but for us.

What we need, therefore, is something other than fairness. We need the extravagance of grace and mercy. We need the slate wiping clean through forgiveness. We need to find a way out of this impasse!

God offers us this exit. He lavishes grace and love on us. We don’t deserve this. We can’t earn it through the good works we attempt, but it’s poured out liberally in Christ Jesus, so we don’t have to earn it! God lavishes mercy on us, not treating us as our sins deserve, letting us go scot-free. (Ps 103:10)

Mercy and grace are God’s blessing to us, poured out liberally and generously into our lives. We can either receive them freely – as the Prodigal Son did, putting on a lovely coat and feasting on a barbecue of choice meat – or we can spurn them, clinging onto fairness as our modus operandi – as the older son did, frustrated and offended by his father’s generosity.

To us, these are either/ or options. We feel we can’t have fairness and grace. We feel we have to choose between the two. But in God’s world, the paradox is we serve a God of mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, compassion and justice. We don’t understand how this can be. We don’t see how the scales can ever balance. But that’s God. He is above all our understanding. His ways we can’t fathom. But we can rest secure, knowing He will resolve all the tensions and work out all the irreconciliable differences we can’t fathom.

Don’t mis out on grace and mercy because you’re clinging onto a need for justice. Let go of limitations to embrace a God far greater than we can imagine, a God who will see that right is done and who offers us a way out of our man-made tensions.