Busted! I knew he was coming after me as soon as I saw him turn on the flashing lights and pull up behind my car. Although the cruise control had kept me close to the speed limit for most of the trip, I somehow managed to fly past the state trooper…fifteen miles over the speed limit. “Mam, do you know how fast you were going? May I see your driver’s license and registration?” It’s interesting how such simple questions can cause a near-heart attack. We both knew I was guilty.
Waiting in my car for the officer to write up the ticket, I prayed, cried, and almost vomited. I was without excuse. How could I be so stupid? The longer he delayed, the lower my spirits sank. Yet when he finally returned, I could hardly believe my ears. “I’m going to cut you a break and give you a warning. Drive carefully now.”
I guess you know where I’m going with this. I didn’t deserve the grace he gave me that day. I should have gotten a fine, and a hefty one at that. But his words did not go unheeded. I bet I was the safest driver on Interstate 80 that afternoon. Whenever the cruise control kicked off and the speedometer started to creep up, I immediately slowed down. Sure, I had no desire to get stopped again, and I wanted to be safe, but you know what really motivated me? It was that state trooper giving me a second chance. Even though he would never know, I wanted to “live out” my gratitude.
The Bible states that it’s grace that teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness. I believe it. It’s not that laws aren’t necessary. But the law can’t really change us. It serves to keep us in line, to protect us. Grace, however, moves from the inside out. It’s fueled by gratefulness. We don’t want to let down the one who “cut us a break.” Not if we really know how guilty we are.
So how about you? Are you, like me, thanking God today that you are not receiving what you “deserve?”