Dan, Heather, Jeremiah, Emma, Claire, Levi, Josie and baby Jane

Friday, October 30, 2009

Justice vs. Mercy


Stolen cell phone in the underpants igniting an extreme case of "mob justice."


The end result of an argument gone very bad.


This morning, on rounds, I was handed a crisp, new “orthopedic service list” by one of the Kenyan medical students, an invaluable tool for tracking our many patients scattered throughout the hospital. The List, kept by our hard-working interns and medical students, includes patient names, injuries and treatment plans. As I quickly scanned the list for any new overnight admissions, one patient distinctly caught my eye: Peter Kipkirui, mob justice victim. The patient had multiple injuries inflicted by blows and pangas (machetes) as a result of vigilante justice, meted out by a group of angry Kenyans. “He must have done something pretty bad,” I thought to myself. I asked the two medical students, Mercy and Justus (no joke), what he had done and they showed me a pelvic x-ray demonstrating what they thought was the reason for this swift punishment. A cell phone that the patient had stolen, and stuffed into his underpants, on x-ray, appeared as a rectangular, outlined skeleton of wires and chips. Later, I was called to the operating room to see a patient who was the victim of another kind of “justice” that unfortunately results from the simple equation: liquor + argument + sharp instrument = severe injuries. The man had the most impressive hand panga cut I have ever seen.

To be honest, as a surgeon dealing daily with injuries caused, in some way, by foolishness, carelessness, jealousy, anger, neglect, greed, etc. (essentially sin), I am tempted to lose compassion, and think, in my heart, “they get what they deserve.” Then, I am quickly disciplined by God as he reminds me of the incredible Grace that was given me, i.e. my sins paid for by the blood of his own Son. It’s a good thing I don’t get what I deserve. All of us receive one of two perfect options: justice or mercy. Either we receive just punishment for our sins…or mercy, embodied in the person of Jesus Christ as we come to Him in faith. The Newsboys sing a song with simple, yet profound lyrics: “When we don’t get what we deserve; it’s a real good thing…when we get what we don’t deserve; it’s a real good thing.”

Eph. 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.

3 comments:

Billy S said...

Thank you for sharing the insight the Holy Spirit poured into you! We are praying for you and "Hope" to see you soon.

Billy Spivey

Josh and Brin said...

Newsboys??? Dan, you're showing your age... how about:

"It's not a family trait,
it's nothing that I ate,
and it didn't come from skating with Holy Rollers"

And I think you win the award for the grossest blog picture ever (although Brin enjoyed it).

The Webels said...

I'm with Josh. Definitely the grossest blog picture ever.