Given February 2015
I entered the courtroom in shackles on my hands and feet and wearing the standard orange prison jumpsuit. I was led to the front of the courtroom where I was directed to sit down. “Oh, what have I gotten myself into?” “Why did I do those things?” “What was I thinking?” “Well, this looks like the end for me.”
I was brought back to reality by the authoritative voice of the judge, “Next case!” The bailiff called my name and I tentatively rose and approached the bench. The judge glanced at me then began looking at my file and the crimes I was accused of committing. He said, “Son, I see you’ve not been in trouble before but these charges now are pretty serious.” “With the evidence here against you, you are guilty and the sentencing guidelines are clear.” The judge looked back down at my file. My heart was racing and sweat began to form on my forehead. I swallowed hard as he looked back up at me. “Here it comes”, I thought, “my life is over.”
“Sir, you’ve made some serious mistakes here and made some bad choices.” “Are you sorry for what you have done?” “Yes, Your Honor, I am very sorry.” “Well, I believe you are and I believe you’re basically a good man so I’m going to do something different here today.” “I’m going to give you a second chance.” “By my authority as judge of the First District, I am dropping all these charges against you.” “You are free to go.”
That is Mercy! When you don’t get what you deserve.
I was stunned! I saw the judge raise his gavel and I heard the sound when it hit his desk. With opened mouth and wide, tear-filled eyes, I cried, “Thank you Your Honor, thank you so much!” He nodded at me and replied, “Now go and make something of your life.” “I will Sir, thank you.”
The bailiff led me over to the side of the courtroom where the shackles were removed from my feet and hands as my family came up to meet me. We embraced in tears at the good fortune given me by the judge. We could not believe what had just happened. I turned to thank the bailiff and extended my hand. However, the bailiff, instead of shaking hands, placed an envelope in my hand. I said, “What’s this?” “I don’t understand.” He said, “The judge had done some research on your background and found that you are a decent man, had recently lost your job and had some really bad luck in your life.” “He wanted to help you get started with your new life and wanted to give you this.” I thanked him and exchanged puzzled looks with my family as I opened the envelope. To my shock and surprise, inside there was a check for $10,000! I looked back toward the judge, shaking my head in disbelief, as he smiled and nodded at me.
That is Grace! When you get something you don’t deserve.
God is merciful and graceful like that. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).