Grace: a disposition to kindness and compassion
Mercy: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender...
There are many ways I could honor my dad today, but I want to share a story in which my dad exemplified these two words to me in an unforgettable way.
When I was in highschool, I worked at a local dairy scooping icecream among other duties. One night, I was leaving to drive home and backed up into my co-worker's new Toyota 4 Runner. I don't remember it doing a whole lot of damage to her car, but the tail light of my dad's minivan came off along with some other structural damage. I was so upset about it and wished that my quick 5 minute drive home could have been longer to prolong the announcement I'd have to make to my parents when I got home.
When I arrived home, I walked into our dining room where my parents were jointly working on the budget adding insult to injury to my forthcoming announcement. Dejected, I threw the tail light onto the table and waited for the lecture to begin. What followed I will never forget. My dad calmly asked what happened, a tone of compassion in his voice rather than the irritation I expected to hear. Once he heard what happened, he said something like, "Don't worry about it. It'll get taken care of." Then, he reached in his back pocket and pulled out a 10 dollar bill, threw it down on the table and told me to go get some pizza with friends and forget about it for a little while.
Do not be mistaken. My dad always sought to make us responsible and not cover for our mistakes. But, my dad saw in this moment that I was certainly disposed to do what was right and pay for the damages myself. He saw that there was a greater lesson to be learned that night, not one of responsibility, but of grace and mercy. He sought (whether intentional or not) to teach me what it means to receive something we don't deserve.
That incident forever became a tangible picture to me of God's love for me. God, in His mercy and grace, gave me the gift of His Son's death to pay for my sins, when I did not deserve it.
Since then, I have cost my dad much money, even recently when I again crashed his truck trying to get out of a parking garage. Stuck on the fourth floor of the garage, I called my dad crying and fearful that I would never be able to get his truck out of the garage. True to his character and love for me, he only sought to care for me, calming me down and giving me a strategy to get the truck out of the garage.
Dad, there are so many things I could say to honor you. Today, I'm choosing to focus on one thing that has made a profound impact on not only feeling secure in your love for me but also in God's love for me. You have been a picture of my Heavenly Father in these incidents and others. Thank you for giving me that precious gift. Happy Father's Day!