Sunday, November 21, 2010
Call this one "amazing grace". When my wife was pregnant with our first child back in 1967, I was a hippie. A bead wearing, long-haired, sandal wearing, anti-war protestor, and civil rights activist hippie--in Abilene, Texas. My father-in-law was a redneck truck driver who thought all student demonstrators should be "machine-gunned"--his words. You can see how close the two of us were. All he ever said to me was, "Get a haircut." One night, about five months into the pregnancy, I got arrested for theft (I was guilty) and sent to jail. I used my one phone call to let Karen know where I was and to get me out. Hippies weren't popular in West Texas jails. Many hours and a few fights (I lost all of them) later, the cell door was opened and the guard said I could go. I asked if my wife was here. He said, "Nope, it's your father-in-law." I asked to go back in the cell--it would be safer. I could just see him waiting by his pick-up with an ax handle in his hand. I didn't think he would kill me, just make me beg him to. When I walked out to the parking lot (a very, very long walk for me), he wasn't carrying any weapon. In fact, he smiled, put his arm around me and told me if I ever got into trouble again to call him first. I was speechless and humbled by this uneducated redneck. Mercy is when you don't get the bad thing you do deserve. He gave me mercy. Grace is when you get the good thing you could never deserve. He gave me grace, as well. It changed my life. As well it might. It just doesn't pay to judge based on what you assume about someone. It's how they treat you and those who could never help the helper that defines them. God knows this. Thank God.