Hayden Carlo, 25, was pulled over by Plano police because he had an expired registration. He said he told the police officer that he was struggling financially. He said he had to choose between updating his registration and feeding his kids.
Carlo recalled their conversation. He flatly said he doesn’t have an excuse for the expired registration except he can’t afford a new one.
“I don’t have the money,” he told the officer. “It was either feed my kids or get this registration done.”
The police officer then handed the driver a citation, but when Carlo unfolded the paper, he saw a crisp $100 bill.
He said he “broke down” in his car. “What else can you do?” he asked.
Grace is my most beloved word in the world. As I study Jesus’ life, the notion of grace keeps hitting me in the face. All his stories made the wrong person the hero: the prodigal son not the responsible older brother, Lazarus not the rich man, the Good Samaritan not the Jewish rabbi. And I began to see grace as one of the great, often untapped, powers of the universe that God has asked us to set loose.
The French philosopher Simone Weil wrote a book called Gravity and Grace which describes two different ways of approach. The world runs by rules like gravity. As Isaac Newton studied the universe, he came up with fixed rules like “Every action deserves an equal and opposite reaction.” Athletics runs that way, as does the economy and politics. Stop making your car or house payments, and the bank repossesses them. Bomb my country and we will bomb you back. Against that pattern comes a strikingly different pattern. From God we deserve anger and we get love; we deserve punishment and we get forgiveness.
Grace is unfair. We deserve God’s wrath and get God’s love, deserve punishment and get forgiveness. We don’t get what we deserve. Paul put it ironically, “The wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life.” We work hard for wages, which vanish at death; we do nothing to deserve grace, and get life eternal. It’s unfair that a human rights abuser like Saul gets forgiven, or a murderer/adulterer like King David, or a thief hanging on a cross who has a conversion just before death. Yes, it’s unfair—gloriously unfair I would say. Coach Campman