A month ago a woman in my Sunday School class read this quote about the atonement of Jesus Christ by Tad Callister:
“At one end of the law, is mercy in all of its compassionate splendor, at the other is justice in all its stern reality. The Atonement is the one act in record history that demonstrated the maximum mercy, yet never robbed justice of one ounce of payment. The Atonement ran the full gamut of the law, end to end, mercy to justice. It was all-inclusive, infinite, so to speak, in its compliance with the law.”
What stood out for me is the idea of the Savior giving us “maximum mercy”. Every ounce that He has He would give us. I have been turning that phrase over and over in my mind for weeks. What does maximum mercy look like?
A week ago a tenant of ours called and said that the sketchy neighbors next door just parked a broken car and two shopping carts of tools in the 6 place parking lot behind our rental. This was the final straw. These neighbors– their house full of people coming and going, a steady stream going to our shed in the back daily until one of the tenants tipped me off, graffiti painted on the shed and fence, which we patiently kept painting over to keep a handle on it. Two separate camping trailers full of trash were parked for weeks in the two parking spots in front of this rental house. I called every few days, both times, and finally Provo City issued tickets and removed the trailers.
By the time, I had received the call about the junky car being left in a stall, I had had it. I was ready for full on justice. Hadn’t I patiently bore the past injustices meekly, and quietly? I called the police and they went to visit the house to issue a trespassing notice to Charley, who is the patriarch to everyone coming and going. Another tenant, who was being kind and didn’t know the history, texted me and said, “Sorry! He asked us if he could park it there a couple of days and we said sure, for a couple of days.”
Through out all of this, “maximum mercy” kept floating through my brain. What does that mean? But I had been merciful, moving the shed without confrontation to get rid the traffic, painting over the graffiti, etc. For Jesus, there is no limit, there is no 5th time and that’s it. I knew I had to do better than call a tow truck to remove the offending vehicle. That would have been swift justice but not mercy. Charley and I were able to connect and talk. I was able to listen, and feel compassion for his situation. He promised he would remove the dead car the next day. And he did. No tow truck involved.
I know I have a long way to go. But Jesus shows me the way over and over. It is a struggle. The work is real and deep on myself. But the Peace that the Savior promises me is so worth it. It is a better way to live, to feel peaceful instead of justified. I am grateful for His example and in the end, when I will need it, I cling to His promise of a perfectly balanced scale of justice and mercy– maximum mercy.