I cut in front of a policeman today without realizing it.
I’m not proud of this.
I was on my way to work; running late.
Folks in the left lane were driving ten miles an hour under the speed limit.
I didn’t think kindly of them.
Neglecting my turn signal, I moved to the right, away from the pokey puppies.
I didn’t see that policeman before I moved.
You know that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that comes waiting for the flashing red lights and the siren to blare, letting everyone in the county know you just broke a law?
I put my signal on and moved back to the left–in front of the pokeys–to let the policeman go by. Or pull me over, whichever suited his fancy.
And I waited.
He sped up and went by me. Never even glanced in my direction.
I fully expected to be ticketed for failure to yield or failure to use proper signals or failure to think while behind the wheel.
What I got was a pass.
Total grace. Unexpected kindness. For whatever reason, I didn’t get a ticket.
I deserved one.
Life rarely gives me a pass. It’s quite common for me to experience the consequences of wrong actions. I’ve gotten tickets for speeding and failure to yield the right of way. I’ve washed pens in the laundry with new clothes, put my phone through a wash cycle. Those are poor choices and not being careful, resulting in fines, crazy-stained clothes and a phone that’s given up the ghost.
There are other times in life when consequences of others are bigger, more severe. Drunk drivers taking out entire families. Guns not locked away from inquisitive children.
People hurting people.
The focus of this season is undeserved grace. It’s not just the sweet story of a baby born in adverse conditions, or the harrowing journey of a pregnant woman and her betrothed husband. It’s not just a magnificent star appearing for the first time in centuries or the long, arduous journey of three very learned and respected men to worship a baby.
It’s the coming of Messiah. The One promised to save us from our own darkness and the darkness of this world. The One who came to pay the penalty levied against people who aren’t perfect so they could become acceptable to a perfect God. He came as a Child, humbly growing up before the eyes of the world.
Dying for wrongs He never committed so He could save those who’d receive His gift of grace.
Undeserved favor in the eyes of a holy God for those who allow His payment to be their own.
There are many consequences in life I deserve. I still do bad things.
Knowing Jesus, the Messiah, has given me the sweet grace of forgiveness that guarantees me heaven.
Jesus isn’t a cosmic cop looking to incarcerate wrong doers.
He’s the One who satisfied the law so I–and anyone who chooses Him–will experience freedom from the consequences of breaking the law.
That’s the ticket I’m looking for.