What I Deserve

By Dick Duerksen

Photo by Pexels

“If God gave me everything I deserve, I’d have nothing left but bruises.”

Two words in this quote make me really uncomfortable. “Deserve,” and “Bruises.”

Deserve? My choices do not change God, but they do make it easier or harder for God to reach me. Some choices throw up a poisonous fog of confusion around my mind. Others take me to places where God’s voice is nearly drowned out by discordant sounds. Still others plug my ears against His pleadings or shut my eyes from His tears.

Some of my choices and actions cause God personal pain. Some lead me to actions which harm people I love, defeat the cause of righteousness, and throw mud in the eyes of angels.

“If God gave me everything I deserve, I’d have nothing left but bruises.”

Deserve? If I allowed those choices and actions in any human relationship I would be eligible for prosecution by the Sheriff. I would earn banishment from pleasant society, and become fodder for supermarket tabloids. I would deserve 49 bruising lashes.

Bruises? My brother used to beat on me and I on him. I was bigger. We both knew the bruises of jealousy, of anger, of pride, and of fear. When Mom and Dad came home we also developed an intimacy with the bruises of discipline. Dad was bigger, and we were deserving.

“If God gave me everything I deserve, I’d have nothing left but bruises.”

One other thing bothers me about the quote. It paints God as “biggest,” an abusive policeman who is ready to beat me into submission. The life of Jesus doesn’t match that picture. My actions do not cause Him to reach for His whip. However, they do increase His joy or deepen His pain. Regardless, His part in our relationship is the same, unchanged by my choices.

He loves me. He wants me. He trusts me. He accepts me. He reaches out to draw me closer. He is eager to clean me, scrub away the effects of my destructive choices and transform me into one who looks like, lives like, and loves like Him.

Bruises? Yes, I deserve them. But, rather than allow blue and purple patches to bloom on my skin, He has taken the punishment on Himself, leaving me with the clean pure skin of an innocent child. His child.

“For He was bruised for our transgressions…and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).