Grace Override

Now I don’t know what you think about the celebration of Valentine’s day, but for our kids, we simply promote it as a way to have fun, and to bless the other kids at school in their class. So, true to this idea, I picked up some small “Winnie The Poo” and “Toy Story” Valentine’s day cards for each of our two children, Elizabeth (4) and Daniel (6). That was about a month ago. Well, before you I knew it, it was Valentine’s day itself (that was this past Monday) and, lo and behold, the cards were not filled in yet! “No problem,” I thought to myself. “We’ll still have time to fill them out to give them to the kids, before the kids go to school.”

Lo and behold, however, it was one of those “rare” mornings when — gads — my son’s homework had not been done! Imagine that … a whole weekend went by, and we missed it! I immediately threw on the “panic” button, and declared judgment on my son! “Daniel … you didn’t do your homework!” I exclaimed. With the homework still to do (about 20 minutes worth), it seemed to me that there would be “no way whatsoever” to get those Valentine’s day cards filled out for the kids in his class! Ouch! My plans were suddenly interrupted. In about 20 minutes, my son’s homework was all done. Meanwhile, upstairs, mom was helping his sister to get her Valentine’s day cards signed for the kids in her class.

Now, in the midst of all of this commotion, I did not really think that we would have the time to get my son’s cards done, now that we had spent an extra 20 minutes on his homework. So, my little “panic button” inside of me said, “No way, jose, we are NOT going to do these cards!” My wife and I were not working on the same wavelength, however, and, whatever I said to express my thoughts about this to her, simply did not register in the manner that I had intended them to. So, true to my wife’s very gracious, concerned, and very loving character (in short, that of a mother), she simply went ahead and helped my son to prepare the cards for his classmates, while I tended to the car, getting it started and all that (there was some shovelling to do, by the way, as we live here in Canada, and it DID snow the previous night!).

Now what’s the point? The point is, here I was, wanting to “cut” my son off from having some fun in his class because of time, but my wife graciously “found” the time, in the midst of all of this, to help my son fill in those cards for his classmates! That’s what I like to call, “Grace Override”: in the midst of judgment, grace prevails. James talked about this “grace override” when he said, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:12-13) The point is, if we fail to show mercy when mercy should be given, we will be judged by that same standard (harshly). I’m so glad I have a loving, merciful, wife, who preferred to show grace at a time when truly “mercy rejoiceth against judgment,” as James writes.

How about our children, or perhaps someone that we know or work with? Are they feeling the “pinch” of our judgment? Is it time to let “mercy triumph over judgment”? Is there a need for a “grace override” in someone’s life that you or I have been given authority over? As James says, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:12-13)