Today I sat down with a Catholic and an Episcopalian. I don’t know how the conversation morphed into a theological discussion, but it was Holy Spirit directed. I started by telling them about the time I had a professional photographer come to our church to take family pictures for our church directory. One younger mother came to the sales event where they could choose and buy photos that were taken. This college professor’s wife started screaming and demanded I come and see her picture. She exclaimed, loudly, ”Pastor, this picture doesn’t look anything like me. It makes me look …” and she went on and on about the lousy picture. Then she asked me, “What do you think?” Quite frankly, I’m not sure what I said! Later, I commented to Gevena, “I think the picture looks just like her!” Of course, my audience of two thought that was really funny.

Then I started talking to the two individuals about the difference between justice and mercy. What the photographer did when he captured the woman’s picture was to do a picture that was called “Justice.” She received a picture that captured the essence of what the woman looked like. Justice is getting exactly what you deserve.

Then I explained “Mercy.” The photographer, seeing the woman’s dismay, doctored, or edited, the picture as only a good photographer can do. Mercy is what God gave us. We didn’t get what we deserved. Hell is what we deserve. God is perfect, holy, and just. God would be a liar if He demanded, “No dirt (sin) in My Heaven,” then gave a blind eye to humanity’s sins. After the photographer altered the picture with “Mercy,” our young mother was more satisfied.

Someone had to pay for sin! God solved that problem by choosing His only Son to die for us. God said, “A body He has prepared for Me,” referring to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus would make at the Cross.

I then explained why the Blood of Jesus, and only the Blood of Jesus, would offer a complete washing of all the sins of mankind, if they would confess, repent, ask for forgiveness, and choose to believe that Jesus had conquered sin for humanity.

Then I sang a little song to them. “What can wash away my sin…nothing but the Blood of Jesus.” To my surprise both Catholic and Episcopalian joined me in singing that song, which I didn’t think they would know. At that point I realized how much of a theological truth I had expounded on. I told them I didn’t mean to sound so much like a theologian. Their response? Both the Catholic and the Episcopalian thanked me for explaining all of that to them.


Pastor Stan