(This is a repeat/update of a post from a couple years ago, but with a new rant to begin. Just because I want to rant)
I think I hate NASCAR. My driver, Jeff Gordon, has led the points almost all year long. He's had the best year in years. Using the "old points system" he would have the championship locked up. Using the current point system without the new "Chase"format, he would have it locked up. Shoot, using last year's point system he would still be in a position to "advance" to the final round of this new stupid chase/elimination format.
And yet, due to the ridiculous new rules, due to being taken out of a possible win last week by a truly stupid move by another driver, due to a "convenient accident" at the end of yesterday's race which allowed another driver to finish one extra spot up and move one point ahead of the 24 team in the standings....Gordon will not even be in the running for the Sprint Cup Championship in next week's race.
This isn't the first of these fiascoes. Crunching the numbers shows that the constant changes in the points system has robbed the 24 team of at least THREE championships in the last few years. I'm about ready to give up on NASCAR. It just ain't fair.
This is a huge example of the old “life ain’t fair” axiom. It’s one we all learn early, or at least we should. I can remember growing up, going to mom with my complaint, and all I would get is “Life’s not fair.” I never did like that answer. I really don’t like it much now in many ways.
I don’t like that some folks can afford new, nicer stuff than me; or that crooked politicians laugh all the way to the bank with our tax money, or that because of stomach issues I can’t eat onion rings anymore! Life ain’t fair!
And yet, I’m so very glad that it’s not. You see, if life were fair, then you and I would be destined for God’s judgment and wrath without any hope at all. Because of our own rebellious hearts, we could expect nothing but death and hell. That would be fair. Because we’ve earned it. We deserve it.
The classic Newsboys song tells some wonderful news, though. “When we don’t get what we deserve, that’s a real good thing.” That’s mercy. Of course the next line of the song tells us the opposite. “When we get what we don’t deserve, that’s a real good thing.” That’s grace.
Mercy and grace are often used synonymously, but they are different. Mercy is not being punished as we deserve, not feeling the wrath we’ve earned. While grace goes beyond that. Not only do we not get the punishment, but we do get Christ’s righteousness as well; salvation and eternal hope on top of it all. That’s grace. Grace on top of mercy. It ain’t fair, but I’m sure glad God gives it.
You see, what’s not fair is that God’s perfect and holy Son would die, and I get to live. What’s not fair is that God’s wrath was poured out on the divine Son of God, and God chooses to give me the honor of being His son in righteousness. That’s not fair.
In fact, I have this nightmare that Jesus screams out from the cross, “It’s Not Fair!” and God answers Him saying, “you’re right, it’s not. Let’s forget this whole thing and do things justly.” Of course, the end of that nightmare is you and me back under condemnation, and without hope. I’m so glad that’s just a nightmare, and that the reality is God chose to do it “unfairly.” Grace on top of mercy.
Now, the truth is, I’ll continue to whine about the “unfairness” in the sports world; and probably in the world in general. But of course, that’s just the way things are in a fallen, sinful world. In the end, however, I’ll remember that it’s a very good thing that life’s not fair. Praise God, Life Ain’t Fair!!
Now, for your listening pleasure, feel free to check our Shai Linne talking about Mercy and Grace from his Attributes of God project.