Justice and Mercy Flow from the Gospel

Today, the new website for Summit VIII (May 3-4 at Saddleback Church) was officially unveiled!  Check it out when you get a chance!  And pre-register now (at no cost) to receive a $10 discount when registration goes live.

The theme for Summit VIII is Justice and Mercy Flow from the Gospel.  But why is Gospel the fountainhead?  Why not just “goodwill” or “duty” or “idealism”?

On one level, every human holds a certain sense of justice and an impulse toward mercy.  That’s because we’re all made in God’s image.  Despite our brokenness, we yet retain the Imago Dei deep within, reminding of what we were made for.  This is something to celebrate, and Christians can make common cause with expressions of what theologians call “common grace” wherever it appears.

Yet our world is profoundly marred by sin.  Each of us are, too.  And when those two realities rub up against each other, even the most idealistic intentions break down.  Enthusiasm ends up on the side of the road, smoking and twisted like a burned out wreck.

When a young man we’ve mentored turns to gang life.  When we discover that a partner in orphan care has been siphoning off money for himself.  When an adopted daughter rejects our love.  When the need statistics are larger than our mind’s ability to grasp them.  When a foster child steals from us for the 10th time. 

In times like these, we find out what has been motivating us and whether it is enough to go the distance.  If we’ve just been driven solely by guilt…or duty…or idealism, our good intentions will begin to rub raw.  Disillusionment and bitterness will slowly replace optimism.

But no matter how great the world’s hurt, there is yet something bigger.  If nourished by the Good News that pulses at the center of the universe, there will be more to the story.

For we serve the God who pursued us when we were destitute and alone.  The God who rescues and adopts.  The God who invites us to live as His sons and daughters.  And no matter how great our sacrifice to love the destitute child, it is small compared to the sacrifice He made to love us in our destitution.

Indeed, we love … seek justice … show mercy… because He first did so for us.