The Math of Mercy

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Paul is on a roll. He’s adding up all the things that can separate you from the love of God in Jesus Christ. And the total? Nothing, zilch, zero. Not death, not life, not anything in all this vast creation where good and evil coexist. This is the math of mercy. God’s nothing.

numberjumbleBut still we continue the list. What about my deepest, darkest, most shameful act? What about the years I spat in heaven’s face? What about the terrible things I’ve done to other people? What about all the ways I’ve led others into iniquity? What about this, what about that? Write your list. Use up every drop of ink, cover every sheet of paper, go on and on and on with the innumerable screw-ups in your life.

When you’ve finally finished that exhaustive list of all the things that you think can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, add them all up. Take that number and multiply it times God’s zero. All your sins X God’s zero = zero.

This is the math of mercy. God’s nothing. Your everything in Jesus Christ, who is bigger than your sin, more loving than your hate, more faithful than your infidelity.


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4 thoughts on “The Math of Mercy

  1. I’m going to say I agree with what you said re nothing can separate us from God. However, I have questions. I will start with a brief history of my recent life.

    Approximately six years ago I met a ‘retired’ LCMS pastor who introduced me to the Lutheran faith. We married a year later and then my husband put out the word he would like to return to the pulpit. (His previous wife divorced him and the church he was pastor of requested he resign.)

    We moved out of state to accept so he could accept the call. After a year and one/half, I discovered he was using online porn and paying for sex with prostitutes. I confronted him and he lied….and continued to lie until I was able to confront him with proof. He ‘repented’ and asked forgiveness. I offered forgiveness and we began marriage counseling only later to learn the sexual immorality continued for over two years.

    Two months ago I found out he was still paying for sex and that’s when I quit enabling him to continue his duplicitous life style and sent the proof to a fellow pastor, who in turn informed the President of the local district. My husband informed me I was being unfaithful to my vows to protect him and asked that I recant my story. I refused. Four days before he was to have his meeting with the district president he had me evicted from our home by the police after filing an emergency protective order against me stating I was verbally abusive and had threatened his life. I was escorted from our home at 10:30pm and not allowed to communicate with my husband or return to our home until a court hearing two weeks later. I was ‘homeless’.

    It was later that it all made sense when I found out that when he appeared at his hearing, he stated he had never committed adultery and I had made it all up. He asserted that I was mentally unstable and a danger to him – emotionally and physically.

    I have since filed for a divorce. I still do not have a job or permanent place to live. I do have the records of illicit phone calls, texts, and deductions from our bank account to pay these women.

    He sent your blog to me via email tonight to let me know that he’s been fully forgiven by God, and he owes me nothing as he has repented and nothing can separate him from God.

    My question. Doesn’t he have a responsibility to be a ‘doer of the Word” and treat his wife with the love Christ has for the church? Doesn’t he have a command to be faithful, demonstrate true repentance and love and care for his wife rather than put her out on the street? How can he lie about me, cheat on me, make me homeless and still insist that he’s ‘right with God’? Why hasn’t my pastor offered to help? Why hasn’t a group of pastors gone and visited my husband and confronted him with the need to truly repent and be the husband God expects him to be? Are there no pastors willing to stand up for what is right? No one willing to confront him in is his sinful lifestyle and call him to true repentance?

    I am disheartened and discouraged. Does anyone care?

    • I am truly sorry for the suffering you have endured. And I pray that, over time, God may grant you full healing from all the wounds that your husband’s lies and infidelity have inflicted upon you.

      The Scriptures tell us that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. Also, God threatens to punish all who break His commandments, including adultery and bearing false witness. If a person steadfastly, impenitently continues in sin, refusing to confess, and all the while hiding behind the Gospel, then he deceives himself and the truth is not in him. He needs to hear the law. He needs to be brought to confession and repentance. This is the way of the law: it kills us, for it is only in death that we receive the life of God’s forgiving Gospel.

      I hope this helps to clarify. I would like to write more, but my family and I are actually moving this morning, so my time is very limited. But I will pray for you, and your husband, today and in the days to come. May Christ grant you wisdom, your husband repentance, and both of you forgiveness and peace that are found only in Him, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

    • Your Savior cares. I pray that He will uphold and comfort you.

    • When Pastors fail spiritually or something drastic happens that they lose their ministry, it seems that they and their families sometimes fall into a void of silence where few reach out to them and offer help. It is a sad, sad reality and I feel greatly sorry for you and what you have been through. I don’t think people sometimes know what to say or how to help when it’s a Pastor and his wife/family.

      I would encourage you to talk to your Pastor again and just let him know you are hurting. Sometimes we Pastors can be thick headed and need to be reminded. Also, is there another Lutheran Pastor near you or in your Circuit that you respect and might talk to for encouragement? I’m sure the many Pastors who know you and the strife that you’ve been through care, it’s just sometimes they don’t know how to show that they care and minister in an effective way.

      If you just need someone to talk to and to pray with , I’d certainly be glad help in any way I can. I’m a former LCMS Pastor now serving in the ELS at Grace Lutheran Church, Lincoln, IL and you can reach me at . You are cared and loved for by the Lord! As Pastor Bird rightly points out, nothing can separate you from that! I pray that God will help you out of the mess that your husband has seemingly put you in! Be encouraged and don’t lose heart! Your Savior says, “In this world you will have much trouble, but don’t lose heart, I have overcome the world!” John 16

      Love and healing to you dear sister,

      Pastor Daniel McQuality

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