I got a speeding ticket a few weeks before Christmas. Today, I spent my time between the court house, insurance agency, and the driving school office with the arduous task of finding out how to reduce the effects of my infraction on my driving record. Surprisingly, this was my first ticket in ten years. I suppose you can say that I regularly speed, but, rarely get caught.

I’ve always viewed speed limits more like a speed suggestion. After all, most people speed a few mph over as it is what we as typical drivers consider “acceptable” and expected. Honestly, I’ve always tried to drive with the “flow of traffic” and when driving on a road alone have kept my speed to a ballpark range of what I have viewed as acceptably safe. In general I have showed little regard for the actual enforceable limit. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who drives this way?)

This morning I sadly became aware that if I don’t go to driving school the “ding” on my driving record will remain for several years and could potentially cause a rise in my insurance costs. Apparently, driving school is traffic enforcements penance system and attendance will actually esponge the ticket from my record as though it never occurred. Reluctantly, I decided a few hours of my time and a small court appearance would be the penalty I must pay (in addition to my actual fine) to take care of my unlawful driving.

As I considered all of the work associated with this ticket--- my annoyance at the time, cost, and penalty increased. What a pain! Though I very much deserved the ticket, being held accountable for the fact that I broke a law is really crappy. God used this ticket incidence to paint a portrait of how sweet God’s grace is when it comes to my daily law breaking and sinful habits.

Like speed limits, most humans treat the ten commandments more like ten suggestions. We pick and choose which laws to follow and how strictly to adhere to them. We unconsciously decide that minor infractions are okay because everyone is doing it. We are commanded to have no other gods, however, if it’s work, or family, or charity that comes before our worship it seems justifiable. After all, those are good things right? We know thou shalt not bear false witness, but white lies, well, those don’t really count do they? We know we ought to honor our father and mother, but regularly disobey, sometimes ridicule, and often disrespect them.

Every single one of us, daily breaks God’s rules. Daily we are guilty and deserve to be ticketed. Fined with a fee that we would forever be incapable of paying. But Jesus offers grace to the greatest humans among us and more importantly, the least. The poor. The neglected. The sinful. The outcasts. Jesus offers grace to some we wouldn’t even shake hands with.

Next time you fall short, remember the outrageous gift of God’s grace. You could never deserve it, but you don’t have to. It’s yours to just accept. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Grace says, the fine has already been paid. Grace says, your record is free and clear. The beauty of grace is that you owe nothing but gratitude.