“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” -Hebrews 8:12
It’s one thing to hear those words when they apply to us, but when you’ve been the “good Christian girl” all your life and see a prodigal child return to the church, this promise is a bit harder to understand.
As humans, we seem to have developed a sense of justice that doesn’t match up to the grace given to us through Jesus Christ. We are quick to wish harsh consequences about someone who sins or falls away: “she deserves whatever comes her way for doing x, y, z.” We condemn and compare. And all along, we might even slightly envy that she gets to live this glamorous, fun, exciting life with no restrictions or rules while you’re stuck being the good girl. And because of that, a small part of you may think she doesn’t deserve to also become a good Christian girl. You can’t cut into the heaven line.
But that’s not how Jesus sees it. Because when a criminal hanging on the cross next to Him confessed his faith, Jesus promised that soon they’ll be in heaven together. Human logic doesn’t get that. How can one person live a despicable life, confess his belief with his last dying breath and go to the same heaven with the person who lived a faithful, holy, set apart life full of good works and deep faith all their lives? How is that fair?
The simple answer is that it isn’t fair. It never was meant to be fair. Instead, this is just one way God shows us every life matters. No matter how far gone the world has deemed you. Even if you haven’t opened your Bible or spoken to the God you once loved in a dozen years. Even if you messed everything up. God’s grace is bigger than all of that and more.
Now, this doesn’t give you a free pass to live life as you please and then confess last minute and get into heaven. But it does remind us that we must extend the same grace Jesus did to ourselves and to others. Especially when the world cries out “that’s not fair.”