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Grace Not Deserved
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I glanced into my rearview mirror and pulled slowly to the side of the road. The officer was polite as he took my insurance card, driver’s license and registration and walked back to his vehicle. While I berated myself for being so stupid, he called in my information. I knew what he’d find. “Ma’am,” he said as he leaned into my passenger-side window. “Have you had any recent contact with law enforcement?” In fact, in the last two months, I’d been stopped twice for speeding.

This “three stops in three months” was reminiscent of when I was a new license holder. That landed me in traffic court with my Dad in tow. My father explained to the judge that I was a good girl and came from a good home. He told the judge he was an ordained minister and that he’d keep a careful eye on me. Instead of letting me off easy, the judge scolded Dad for allowing his teen-age daughter to run wild and we paid some heavy-duty fines.

My officer was still waiting for a response. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I have,” I said, “and I’m so embarrassed. I’ve really been trying but …” I couldn’t finish as the tears welled up. There was no question I had a lead foot and since begging for lenience hadn’t worked when I was a winsome 18-year-old, I figured it wouldn’t work now. “I’m just so sorry,” was all I could say.

"Just Drive Slower!"

“A lot of bad things happen on this highway and we’re here to help keep you safe,” he said as he handed me back my information. “I’ll let you go this time,” he said with a smile and genuine warmth. “Just drive slower. Have a good day.” Because I didn’t deserve his kindness, the tears flowed more freely. I’d been speeding. I’d disobeyed the law and endangered myself and anyone else I may have met on the road.

When I could see to drive, I cautiously pulled onto the road and continued on to church and thought about the gift I’d just been given. My insurance wouldn’t go higher and that I didn’t have to pay a speeding ticket, but the real joy was that I’d received a gift of undeserved grace.

But how does this joy compare to how I feel when Jesus accepts my pitiful apology and gives me the gift of redemption? “Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:24).

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By Dee Litten Reed. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the THE MESSAGE ®.

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