David James O’Connor was a volunteer wrestling coach at Curtis Junior High School and later at Curtis Senior High School. Two young men then accused him of molesting them while they were on the wrestling team at Curtis Junior High. The charges against O’Connor were dropped due to a technicality. Actually, due to another law called the statute of limitations. Since the illegal occurrences transpired in 2005, charges would have had to have been filed by 2008. He was free to go. His release didn’t seem fair and certainly wasn’t to the young men he molested.
Laws are designed to protect the innocent and the criminal. Both have limited rights. When protecting lawbreakers, they seem unfair. God’s grace might occasionally appear in that same light also. “The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT).
Grace, by its nature, is unfair. After all, God extends it to people who don’t deserve it. I deserve to pay eternally for my sins against him, yet he steps in if I ask and cleans my slate. When I hear of him saving those who are already somewhat good moral people, I rejoice. I’m even happy when addicts are delivered. But when it’s a murderer on death row who asks for his forgiveness at the last minute—and gets it—I get antsy. Especially if I’ve lived a good life most of my life. Now they get to enjoy the same rewards as I do?
God’s forgiveness has only one stipulation—and it doesn’t relate to how good I already am, what type of family I come from, or how much I possess. Repentance is God’s only requirement. In any case, my forgiveness is based on Jesus’ payment—not anything I’ve accomplished or how I’ve lived.
God makes the forgiveness rules. Instead of crying “Unfair” when he forgives someone you think doesn’t deserve it, remember no one deserves God’s forgiveness. Rather, rejoice that it’s available to all who ask.
Martin Wiles is an author, pastor, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized website, Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing, and Assistant Editor for Vinewords.net. He has also served as Web Content Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina. Wiles has authored Don’t Just Live…Really Live (Ambassador International), A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World (Ambassador International), Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, and Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books) and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), Rise (Chaplain Publishing), and Love Knots (Vine-Word Publishing). He has served as Regional Correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and has also written for Lifeway’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. He has also been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Parenting Teens, Open Windows, Proclaim, Stand Firm, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, The Upper Room, The Upper Room Disciplines, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Converge, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, These Days, Plum Tree Tavern, Eskimo Pie, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Creation Illustrated, LIVE, Purpose Magazine, The Banner, Relevant, Bible Advocate, Reasons to Live, Author Magazine, and Lutheran Digest. Wiles has also written for the Bridges and Pathways Curriculum (Warner Press) and is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, The Write Conversation, Inkspirations, and VineWords and is a regular writer for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles has also served on faculty for the Asheville Christian Writer’s Conference. crat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles also serves as the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions , the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and as a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. You can follow him @linesfromgod.