I wanted to share with you a story of grace that I experienced last week. I made the long trip via a rental car from my home in NYC to visit family in my home state of North Carolina. To quote the Grateful Dead, “it was a long strange trip.” As a side note I listened to the Grateful Dead nearly the entire drive!
As I was driving through Virginia with a speed limit of 70 mph, I decided to make sure I stuck my cruise control at a safe 75 mph. As the Dead played and I heard “Casey Jones you better watch your speed”, I saw blue lights in my rearview. At the time I’m thinking there is no way this guy is pulling me over for doing five over! Well he was and I pulled over.
His name was Officer Smith and he approached my window and the conversation went as such:
Officer Smith: I pulled you over because you were driving above the posted limit. I clocked you going 76 in a 70. Is there a reason you felt the need to go that fast?
Me: Well officer, I actually set my cruise at 75 not 76.
Officer Smith: Ok, is there a reason why you set your cruise above the legal limit of 70?
Stop! This is the law being thrown right at my face, and I’m guilty! When we look at the law of God or the law of something or someone else we are always guilty! No attempts at self-justification (“I was only going 75″) will work with the law. Now back to the conversation:
Me: I have no excuses I broke the law. I was in a hurry as I am going out of town to visit family.
Officer Smith: License and registration. Where is your family and where do you live?
Me: They are in North Carolina and my wife and kids and I live in New York City.
Officer Smith: You just gave me a NC license. How long have you been in NYC?
Me: Two and a half years.
Officer Smith: In the time that you have lived in NYC you never thought to get a new license?
Me: Not really. You see sir I take the subway everyday and rarely drive.
Officer Smith: In the state of Virginia you are supposed to get a new license after 60 days of a change of residence. Why don’t you step back in my car.
At this point I’m thinking “Oh Sh#t.” We get in his car and he discovers I have a clean driving record, and we talk a few more minutes, and he said; “I’m going to let you off with a warning. Slow down and have a good trip.”
I drove the speed limit the whole way after that! To be honest, I deserved the ticket because I was 100% guilty, but this officer gave me grace instead.
Grace is always getting something you don’t deserve. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Grace is a gift and cannot be earned. We deserve the ticket of death because we have all sinned, BUT instead we get eternal life, acceptance, love, mercy, etc.