Last week Russ and I were running some errands around our town.
At one congested intersection, where multiple businesses line both sides of the road, we were behind several cars in the right turn lane with a red light holding us back.
Perfectly within the legal rights to turn if all was clear, one car turned into the closest lane while the car behind him shot out wide into the farthest lane.
The oncoming traffic had obviously had a green left turn arrow and a large vehicle was also making the turn into the same lane. It was a narrow miss, and the offended SUV honked vigorously but then turned on the red flashing lights that accompany his authority as a sheriff.
We watched as this person who had been in a big hurry got pulled over to face the music.
It was somewhat satisfying, I have to confess.
For all the cars that have swerved in and out around traffic and run red lights and left the driver’s behind in a wake of frustration that a careless driver just got off free and easy while violating various traffic laws, it was a kind of sweet moment of judgment.
Until I thought about how many times I have done something similar.
Then I want grace.
I don’t want to meet my judge and jury after I have glanced down at my phone and almost hit the car in front of me that made a quick decision to turn in to a street to the right or left.
I don’t want a fair system when I am in a hurry and drive just at 9 over the speed limit so I can hopefully escape radar detection.
I don’t want justice when I decide to gun it when the light turns yellow and I am still a ways off.
I want grace and mercy when it is me.
But it goes deeper.
Because the longer I live, the more I learn that the justice and fairness of God and the judgment and the facing of consequences for my transgression IS grace and mercy.
It is a gift of grace that the Lord disciplines me.
It is a gift of grace that, while I don’t get what I deserve, I do get to learn from my mistakes and continue to be transformed into His image. I do have the gift of grace that gives me second, third and thousandth chances while still holding to live with some repercussions.
It’s okay to get caught breaking the law.
That’s a good thing.
It’s okay to suffer the consequences for disobedience and to fully understand the weight of sin and to receive with joy and complete cleansing, His forgiveness.
Having to face the pain of my transgressions to a certain degree without ultimately paying with eternal separation from God makes me more compassionate and forgiving of others.
As we have celebrated the season of soul-searching and cleansing of Lent, remembered and marked His suffering and death, and then celebrated with great joy the Resurrection of Jesus, let’s keep our hearts and souls open to examination each day.
Let’s bring our whole selves completely before Him on a regular basis and offer up what we are to who He is as a holy habit.
And let’s remember that discipline, too, is a grace gift and one extended by a merciful and kind Father.
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”https://biblehub.com/niv/hebrews/12.htm