Jake was resting in the back of our van while I was driving through Indiana.
We were heading home after a two week road trip.
I was looking forward to my own bed that night, and feeling like the proverbial horse going faster, getting closer to the barn.
There I was, tootling along, listening to a music cd, talking with my sister-in-law, when blue lights began flashing behind me.
I pulled over, switched the car off, got out my license, and watched in my rear view mirror as the policeman walked v e r y s l o w l y to the passenger side.
The tall officer bent down, looked at me through the open window, and loudly said, “You were going 20 miles over the speed limit. This is a construction zone. You are driving dangerously. You must pay attention.”
I admitted my guilt and apologized and waited for the punishment.
It was bound to be a hefty fine.
The officer stood silent.
Then he repeated his words, commanding me sternly, “Please, pay attention.” then he turned and walked away.
Oooooh, that hurt.
But wow, he gave me mercy.
I have been reading a book about who God is and who He intends for us to be. It looks at the attributes of Jesus, traits His Holy Spirit wants to form in us.
For example, Jesus is Truthful, God wants us to be truthful.
He is Good, we should be good.
He is Faithful; we too can strive to be faithful.
Like Jesus we can be Gracious.
Perhaps Mercy – which means forgiveness and compassionate desire to relieve suffering – is Jesus’ signature attribute.
How many Biblical stories mention Jesus’ look of compassion?
How can I become more merciful like Him?
On that Indiana freeway, I had clearly broken the traffic laws and I deserved a stiff fine, but I was given mercy.
As I drove away, I felt relieved, yes, and very grateful!
But also, ashamed and afraid.
That policeman was obviously disgusted with me.
He gave me mercy with an angry face.
On the road of life, I clearly break God’s laws and deserve punishment.
But I have experienced Jesus’ compassionate face.
“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:3)
His Great Mercy includes all of His attributes: His Truthfulness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Graciousness, His Love, His Holiness, His Patience, His Wisdom, and His Justice.
When He corrects me, it is with all of that.
There is no shame, no fear with Jesus.
He gives mercy with a Compassionate Face.
I thank God for His mercy that I did not cause an accident that day in Indiana.
I hope I will remember the policeman’s words and drive differently from now on.
I want the memory of his face to spur me to repentance when I have that face toward others, and then on to a greater worship and love for Jesus’ Great Mercy.
And I pray that God will somehow make me merciful like Him.