GRACE AND THE CLOCK IN A BOX
By DANNY MINTON
There is a box in my garage that has been sitting on the shelf for the past 10 years. It’s a white box with the words “coo-coo clock” written on the side. It was a wedding gift 50 years ago from my uncle. It’s sitting in the box because it’s broken, and I haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet, after all, it’s only been 10 years.
It was hanging on the wall coming into our home when it met its fate. With nephews and nieces playing around one holiday about this time of the year things can get a little rambunctious. It just so happened that in going by the clock it was bumped and came crashing to the floor. The results were a few broken pieces and half a “coo.” Forty years without incident and now it was confined to a box.
It was an accident with no intention of causing damage. That type of thing happens in families with young kids. There were, of course, the apologies and disappointment that it happened, but no punishment or demanded restitution. Grace and mercy were given mixed with love for a couple of kids who already felt bad for us.
The Bible teaches a lot about God’s grace and mercy. His grace for His creation is mentioned several hundred times, sometimes using the words grace and mercy and others as evident through his actions. His grace and mercy are fundamental to Christians and our salvation. Without it as Paul wrote to the Romans, “The wages of sin is death.” He added to this another phrase, “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus!” God, therefore, extends his grace and mercy to all those who follow after Him.
One thing we are taught in His Word is that we are to strive to be like God in how we live our lives. So, the question arises, “How good are we at extending grace and mercy?” Do we allow people to make a mistake, extending grace to them saying it’s okay? Do we become upset at people without putting ourselves in their “shoes?” Do we hold grudges? Do we look for look for faults? Do we allow ourselves to be eaten up inside with ill feelings, harboring anger and resentment?
Grace and mercy are not only key elements in our salvation, but also key elements in how Christians get along with each other. In addition, they are also the measure of how close we are in becoming more like Jesus. Without showing grace and mercy to one another, we are far from being the person that God expects us to be. Jesus expresses this to us in the parable of a man who was shown grace and mercy when his master forgave a very large debt. The man went out and had someone put in prison who could not pay him a minor amount. When the master saw that the forgiven man did not show the same grace and mercy to his fellow man, he had him imprisoned.
Showing grace and mercy to one another is more than a choice. It’s expected. The failure to do so destroys relationships. Harboring bitterness and ill feelings tears apart instead of binding together. It’s more than just forgiving. It’s more than just forgetting. It’s an act of love that holds no grudges but moves on without turning back.
The clock in the box sitting on a shelf in my garage can be fixed. It will sit there on the shelf until I get around to it, maybe another 10 years, who knows? However, the relationship with my nieces and nephews was mended years ago with the grace and mercy shown. There are no hard feelings, and I doubt that they even remember what took place since it has never been mentioned or discussed since the day it happened a decade ago.
“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.–Psalm 145:8-9 (NIV2011)
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ