Justice, Mercy and Grace

Bob_Anton_Narrow_RoadA young boy was once told by his dad, never to drive his go cart up a steep hill on the side of their house.  But one day while his dad was at work, the boy got to thinking how much fun it would be to ride the go cart in the back yard.  He tried to push the cart up the hill but he wasn’t strong enough.  So, despite having been told not to attempt driving up the hill, the boy decided to do it anyway.  He started at one end of the driveway and built up speed, expecting to easily climb the hill.  But the cart stalled half way up the hill and began to roll backwards towards the driveway.  The boy lost control and rolled into his dad’s bike, creasing the exhaust pipes.  When the father came home he immediately spotted the damage to his bike.  He also quickly determined that the young boy had tried to drive up the hill with the cart and had caused the damage to the bike.

The father confronted his son, who by then was justifiably concerned that his father would take the cart away.  After getting a confession out of the boy, the father sent him to his room where he was to remain until his father determined what punishment he would receive.  The sad boy sat in his room crying over his foolish decision.  Sometime later the father entered the room.  “I’m very sorry dad.” He said, “Please forgive me for disobeying you.”  “I know you’re sorry son and I do forgive you.” said the father.  “I have decided not to take away the go cart, but you will no longer be allowed to ride it when I’m not home.”  With that said, he left the room.

A little while later, the boy could hear his younger brother running and laughing in the hall way.  He peaked out the door and asked, “What’s going on?”  “Dad’s taking Mom and me out for Italian ices!” replied the little brother as he scooted down the hall.  A minute later the door swung open and the little brother shouted, “Dad says “Come on! We’re all going out for ices, even you.”  The little boy was amazed at his good fortune.  He never thought that his father would take him out for a treat after he had both disobeyed him and damaged his bike.

While driving in the car, the father spoke to the boy and had this to say.  “You were wrong in disobeying me and so I had to punish you.  You got what you deserved and that is called justice.  Do you understand?”  “Yes.” said the little boy.  “And later, when I decided not to take away your go cart, you didn’t get the full punishment that you deserved and that was called mercy, do you understand that?”  “Yes I do.” said the boy, and I am very grateful dad.”  “Good”, replied the father, and nothing more was said.

Later that evening after they had returned home, the boy found his father sitting in the den.  “Dad, I have a question.  Even though I disobeyed you and damaged your motorcycle, you still took me out for Italian Ices.  I don’t get it.”  “Well.” said the father, “That’s something very special.  You already understand that sometimes you get what you deserve and that’s called justice.  And there are other times that you may not get what you deserve, and that’s called mercy.  But then, there are special times, when you get something very good even though you don’t deserve it and that, is called grace.  Do you understand?”  “Yes, I think so.” said the boy, “But why?”  “Why what?” asked the dad.  “Why is there grace?” asked the boy.  “Well” said the father, thinking deeply, “Sometimes, there’s just so much love,….well, it just overflows into something good”

“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16   “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”  Ephesians 2:8  You think about that. God bless you and……


See you on the road.

Bob Anton

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