He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
Psalm 103:10 makes a surprising point: The Lord is unfair.
We often think of unfairness as the thing that happens when we get less than what we think we deserve. “Why did they get that reward and I didn’t? I work twice as hard as them! That’s not fair!”
That is a type of unfairness.
But there is another type of unfairness. It’s called grace.
Grace is receiving kindness we do not deserve.1
There is yet another kind of unfairness. It’s called mercy.
Mercy is not receiving the punishment we do deserve.
The Lord is unfair in both senses; he is gracious and merciful. So here we see he does not deal with us as our sin deserves or repay us the level befitting our iniquity. He is mercifully unfair.2
What would be fair is to deal with us according to our sins and to repay us according to our iniquities. That would be fair.
I’m thankful the Lord is mercifully unfair.
1. Someone else has used this framing. I don’t know whom.
2. Though he is mercifully unfair, we should note the Lord is, nevertheless, just. He does not wink at sin. His mercy and grace are not turning a blind eye to sin. In the vicarious atoning sacrifice of Jesus, justice is satisfied. In Christ’s substitutionary death, our sin is punished, and our debt is paid. So, the Lord is mercifully unfair, but this kindness came at great cost.
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