Not enough mercy

20 04 2010

Installment two from my episode with the police…

I was guilty. I was driving 18 mph over the speed limit. I didn’t have my Florida registration in the car. When the officer saw me, I was not wearing my seat belt. Regardless of my intentions or past driving record, on that morning I was guilty as charged.

As I sat in the car waiting for the officer to check my record I found myself praying. I acknowledged that I was wrong, yet I also desired mercy. I didn’t want to be treated as my offenses deserved. Andrew was curious so I was trying to teach him that the police are not bad and that we want them to enforce the rules because it keeps people safe. At the same time, I didn’t want him to enforce the rules on me…

When he finally shared that he was overlooking the fact that I didn’t have my registration, wasn’t wearing my seat belt,  was speeding in a school zone, and was also reducing my offense from 18 mph to 6mph I should have been grateful. I wasn’t.

I expected a full pardon! So what that now I only owed $100+ when it could have been much more! He saw my flawless driving record, I told him it was an honest mistake. How dare he… hold me accountable for my offenses… ouch.

How dare me? What gives me the right to demand mercy, much less more mercy. The sentence itself is a paradox; because if I expect or demand it, it ceases to be mercy. What I am asking for is fairness based on my perspective. I surely didn’t want pure fairness because pure fairness would have me in serious trouble.

I find myself wrestling with God over this same issue… I tend to demand mercy. Sometimes a light will go on and I will realize that I messed up. As soon as I am aware that I made a mistake and I have acknowledged it, I expect all consequences to be removed and to be completely loosed. I am arrogant enough to believe that all I have to do is realize that God was right and then He is obligated to ignore my offense… to offer mercy.

I don’t parent that way. I don’t treat others that way. Ironically, more often than not God does treat me that way yet I shake my fist and believe that I deserve more mercy.

I deserved death, He provided life. I deserved estrangement, He provided relationship. I deserved captivity, He provided freedom.

Thanks be to God for His profound mercy and ridiculous grace.

Not enough mercy? How about, not enough gratefulness!




2 responses

20 04 2010

That is one violation for which I have little sympathy, speeding in a school zone. Violators need to go to jail for life, after they are thrown under the tires of a passing school bus. Well, call me tread worn. Join the club, ashamedly.

Coming back home, via Even-to-Locks road, there was a motorcycle cop approaching from the opposite direction. As he came close on came the blue lights. My immediate thought was for the poor guy that was going to be singing the blues, there maybe a Country and Western song in this somewhere. Then he did a “u”e behind me, obviously, he was after someone ahead of me, so I slowed down to let him pass. But, no pass attempt was made even though there was plenty of room. Must be a problem with the car, I thought. I pulled off the road and whipped off my seat belt, got out of the car as he was getting off his motorcycle. He quickly put his hand on his holster and shouted, “get back in the car”. I said,” what”. Without moving his hand, and in a more authoritative tone repeated his opening statement. At that point a realization came over me that he was not after my autograph and/or he was suffering with Napoleons Complex. I got back in the car, and some folks think I have a hearing problem. He approached the car and notified me I was speeding in the School Zone”. I said, What!! Yes, I did hear him. It was a “What” of disbelief. Obviously, another car that looked just like mine got off Scott free and as he did the “U”e he got us mixed up. I brought this possibility to his attention. Nope, that excuse didn’t work. He may have been as short as a straw but he knew a grasp at one when he heard one. Several cop jokes came to mind, but reflecting on the “holster” move, I thought this might be bad timing. I wonder if this is what’s meant when they say, great comics have great timing. Tell a joke and he laughs or he pulls his gun and shoots me. Timing or common sense? This, I felt, was no time for a social studies experiment.

I got my ticket. But just before he gave it to me, I thought about challenging him to a quick draw for the ticket, my finger gun against his Glock but timing or common sense prevailed again. I said thank you and as him to give my regards to Josephine.

For years I have traveled that road and never speed threw the school speed zone or any school zone. I have now refined that statement by adding, “that I am aware of”. The other point is I had become too dependent on flashing yellow lights notifying the speed zone. This stretch just had signs. Now, I’m am more aware that not all speed zones are yell slow down, some are more subtle.

The difference between you and me Ryan, is that I didn’t go and blab to the world about my heinous speeding through a “School Zone” crime. You are the only one that I have shared this with, let’s keep it that way. I only offer my incident to you to give you some comfort. And to let you know that I, on very rare occasions, make mistakes.

26 04 2010

thanks for sharing… I can’t believe you would do that!

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