Mercy over Judgment

On my route to and from work every day, I have to commute via a toll plaza. The way the plaza is set up, there is an e-tag lane for prepaid clients who have a tag affixed to their windshields and ensures a much faster drive through an express lane. That’s the fastest lane. The next option for prepaid users is to join the next lane, the scanner still reads off the windshield but drivers can also physically swipe their cards at the card reader, so it is more convenient than cash payments but slower relative to the express lane and then there are several cash lanes.

One thing I find very distasteful is motorists who bypass traffic by waiting until the last possible moment before merging with the queue, a situation which we often refer to as ‘cutting’ or in Nigerian parlance ‘shunting.’ According to a research on ‘Cutting in Line’ a negative response from the rear of the line is expected when someone has cut in line up ahead. The proportion of people objecting from anywhere behind the cutter is 73.3%, with the person immediately behind the point of intrusion objecting most frequently.

I really don’t mind when motorists cut in in traffic if they indicate properly but cutting into this e-tag queue, I found very irksome. You’d see motorists drive confidently past the queue which they should join to form a parallel queue, forcing the motorists on the real queue from moving through the entrance as quickly as they would have liked to. And they do it with such impunity, literally forcing their bonnets ahead yours because they are in a hurry and cannot join the queue. In my opinion, if you cannot join the queue at the very beginning, take advantage of the next option. It would cost you in time, but please do the right thing. The exact same thing you’d do in a more structured environment. And I always did. I remember once when I board a Uber cab and the cab driver was trying to ‘shunt’ to save time, I told him to please join the regular queue. I preferred to pay more in fares to do the right thing.

Armed with this conviction, on a certain day, I was running late for work and joined the express lane but it was barely moving because motorists kept driving ahead and shunting. I was really upset and determined not to allow anyone cut in directly in front of me because thanks to them, I had spent nearly twice as much time waiting to get to the head of the queue. When I arrived at the end of the queue, in trying to prevent the motorist from cutting in, I inadvertently got pushed towards the side drainage. I must have looked like the Wicked Witch of the West whilst I tried to prevent him from getting in. Well, he did and drove ahead triumphantly. As I made to get back in line, I saw my dashboard light up ‘Tyre losing pressure.’ Wow! It was a tubeless tyre so that meant just one thing, I had torn my tyre. At this time, I was incensed at the driver who cut in front of me and all those like him who wouldn’t do the right thing. I made it off the express and had my tyre changed. Of course, I had to replace the tyre, such a painful, unplanned expenditure.

But later that day, as I saw quietly at my desk at work (the kind of quietness where you are musing about how your day took a totally different turn from your expectation), I heard God quietly ask me, ‘Eloho, where is your mercy? What happened to love?’ I argued, ‘Lord he was wrong.’ And God asked me, how many seconds would it have cost you to let him go? Now, it is costing so much more. I know what He was doing was wrong but you also weren’t merciful in your communication of your displeasure with his actions.’

“…but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith” Matt. 23:23b

mercy over judgement 1

Hmm… and then God started dealing with me for all the times I placed a principle (righteous still) ahead of mercy. I learned that day that upholding principles (as honorable as they are) should never stand in the way of showing love and mercy. It’s the reason in my communication of my displeasure with sin, God expects my words to be angry at sin but coated with the love of Christ and a meekness that comes from my understanding of the mercy of Christ. I should never leave people in doubt of the operation of Christ’s love through me. It is the reason LOVE is what wins. It won with Jesus, it will win again. I was upset by the driver’s indiscipline as reflected in his unruly character that day but stubbornly blocking him off wasn’t showing him the light of Christ really. I looked like a mean, angry woman. I thought about all the times I had employed my anger at sin at a person. I am not my sin, Mr X is not his sin. So address the sin but love the person. And to crown it, God brought me back to James 1:27.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. NLT

That is God’s expectation right there. A very present guide as to what God expects of my character. God help us. AMEN

Oh, and I am a lot more understanding at the toll plaza now, not because I am approving of the act but because I have the duty by God to be a light.

Have a blessed day.


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