Undeserved

Do you ever wish that people could get what they deserve? Because many times it feels like they don’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been passed by a reckless driver when there’s no cop in sight. And then I get a ticket because I forget to signal a left-hand turn.  Or what about at work? It’s frustrating to watch people who don’t work receive the same benefits that you do when you’re killing yourself. Just like it’s irritating to watch people who live immoral lives prospering when you make all the right choices and are barely scraping by.

It makes me wish that people could get what they deserve because then maybe life would be more fair. But that begs the question: what do “bad” people deserve? What do “good” people deserve? And how do you define the difference between the two?

Because maybe someone is a good person but just tends to drive faster than is “safe.” Maybe someone is a good person and just has trouble concentrating at work. Maybe someone wasn’t raised to understand the dangers of an immoral lifestyle, but that doesn’t make them a “bad” person. The reverse is true. Just because you abide by the law, word hard and live right doesn’t make you a “good” person either.

When it comes down to it, I don’t think there are bad people or good people; we’re all just people. None of us are perfect, and if we’re honest about who we are and how we think and how we live, we’d understand that we really don’t deserve anything. At least, we don’t deserve anything from someone who is perfect.

Red rose in the Glen Eyrie Rose Garden - Colorado Springs, CO

Red rose in the Glen Eyrie Rose Garden – Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Romans 3:24.

Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

I get trapped into thinking that I deserve good things sometimes. After all, I follow Christ. I obey Scripture. I live the way God says. So shouldn’t I deserve to be blessed?

That’s where the fine line between deserving and expecting comes into play. I don’t think any of us deserve any good thing that God does for us. But at the same time, we should expect good things. Why? Because God has promised to do good things for people who follow Him, whether we deserve them or not.

Remember, God is perfect. Truly righteous. How can Someone who is utterly perfect ever owe someone who isn’t? Because that’s what deserving is about. I was curious about the word origin of deserve so I wandered over to the Online Etymology Dictionary, and this is what I found:

deserve – late 13c., from O.Fr. deservir, from L. deservire “serve well,” from de- “completely” + servire “to serve.” From “be entitled to because of good service” (s sense found in L.L.), meaning generalized c.1300 to “be worthy of.”

If you’re not accustomed to reading dictionary entries, let me summarize. The word deserve comes from Old French, derived from Latin. Basically, the original word stemmed from the phrase “to be entitled to because of good service” which was generalized into “to be worthy of” later on.
 
To be entitled to because of good service.
 
Like a good waiter is entitled to a decent tip. Like an actor is entitled to a standing ovation after a brilliant performance. If you want to deserve something, you have to do something for the person who is rewarding you.
 
So tell me, when was the last time you did something for God?
 
The plain and simple truth is that none of us deserve anything from God, let alone kindness. Salvation, being made right with God through Christ, is a gift that’s greater than anything in the world. No one deserves it. No one can earn it. No one can change it. You can either accept it or reject it.
 
If God gave us what we deserved — what we really deserve — life would look a whole lot different. If God were truly fair, none of us would have salvation because none of us have done anything to merit it. Maybe we treat each other right every now and then. Maybe we put others first on occasion. Maybe we tell the truth most of the time. But all the time? Every day? That’s doubtful, even for the “best” person in the world.
 
In all of human history, there’s only been one perfect person, and God had Him killed so we could live free.
 
So how do you normally react when someone gives you something good you don’t deserve? Personally, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude that I don’t know what to say. I just know I want to say thank you however I can. And that holds true with what God has given me too.
 
So that’s what I’m pondering today: how can I show God how thankful I am for what He’s given me?

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