A Lesson in Grace

My father once taught me a great lesson about grace. When I was a young man of about 14, I became interested in motorcycles. My cousins owned motorcycles. I thought they were cool, and I wanted to be cool, too.

My father, however, didnít like motorcycles. His greatest fear, Iím certain, is that I would have a tragic accident on a motorcycle. My father bought me a mini bike, hoping it was just a phase. Soon, however, it became clear that my affection for two-wheeled speed would not go away.

Thus, he struck a deal with me. If I would refrain from riding motorcycles, he would buy me a car when I turned 16. I was still allowed to ride my mini bike, but I was never to ride anything bigger.

One day my cousin stopped by. He had a new Yamaha 150 dirt bike. To me, it was a golden gem. My cousin always like to pop wheelies and do tricks on my little mini bike. "Hot dogging" my father called it. My cousin wanted to "hot dog" on my mini bike, but what was I to get in return? He said that I could ride his beautiful Yamaha 150 dirt bike.

I didnít even think about my pact with my father. I jumped on that yellow racing machine and sped off around our one-acre back yard. The Yamaha had more power and more speed than anything I had ever experienced before. As I got to the end of the yard, I leaned too far making my turn and smashed my knee into the ground.

My mother took me to the doctor. I was okay. I think I hurt my pride more than my knee, but both were very tender. My mother told me that I had to "fess up" to my father. I knew my father as a strict disciplinarian. As I approached him to confess I had hurt my knee riding my cousinís motorcycle, one would think I was going to stand before God. I trembled with fear.

I confessed to my father how I had hurt my knee. There was no need to lie. I was sure Mom had already told him. I asked if this would ruin my chances of getting a car at 16. He said, "Weíll see." In my teenaged mind, I translated, "Donít count on it."

Now, the grace part: At 16, I got a car. I had confessed my sin in breaking the pact, and my father forgave me. He forgave me so completely that it was as though it never happened.

I have another father: our Father in heaven. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, He shows me grace when I confess my sins. He forgives my sins so completely that itís as though I never sinned. What a blessing to live under the grace of God! As the Psalmist said:

And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.

-- Psalm 103:12 [MSG]