Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Free Parking...Compliments of Jesus

Kindness is loving people more than they deserve--Joseph Joubert.

This quote was paraphrased on someone's Facebook  page recently.  Like another Mary, I "pondered it in my heart."  I never take quotes at face value.  Quotes are really just other peoples' opinions on things.  Many are good.  Some are stupid.  But I liked this one.  It made me think about how I treat people on a daily basis... like the driver who cuts me off on the way to work.  

I can remember when my kids were young,  I didn't want to set a bad example while driving and encountering rude drivers.  Instead of swearing or yelling or shaking my fist (or...part...of my fist), I would say, "God bless that person!"  My kids got a kick out of it, but they got to a point where that's what they said any time someone cut us off or did something stupid. 

The hospital where Brian is offers free parking--as it should be.  I really don't think you should have to pay for parking when your loved one is ill, but that's just my opinion, and no one asked for my opinion.  (Don't quote me!)  At any rate, this hospital offers free parking because a local car dealer subsidizes it. Someone already paid for me!  I think that is a terrific idea!  (There I go again with my opinions!) I am so thrilled that someone cares enough to allow me to visit my loved one without restriction.  Someone did a very kind thing.

For some reason, however, you still have to stop and get a parking ticket out of the machine. You push a button, the ticket comes out and the "arm" goes up.  You can then drive into the parking garage. But you don't need your ticket to get out.  The arm automatically goes up. The ticket is basically useless, but necessary.

Tonight, I stopped at the machine to collect my ticket, and was saddened to see all these parking tickets littering the ground around the machine.  People who obviously know they don't need the ticket to get out of the garage didn't want that thing cluttering up their car, so they just threw it on the ground.  Taking an act of kindness for granted. But the car dealer still paid for their parking.  Granted, they didn't station a car dealer representative to spy on people to be sure they thanked the air or the sign with their name on it.  My point is that the car dealer paid the parking fee regardless of the recipient's attitude.  In a sense, they "loved the people more than they deserved."

Jesus did that for us.  He paid for our parking.  Regardless of our acceptance or rejection of His kindness, He paid anyway.  Why?  Because He loves us more than we deserve. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:3-4).  At some point or another, we all took the ticket and threw it on the ground, because we just didn't want Jesus cluttering up our lives. He loved us anyway.  It is only when we look up and notice the sign, "Parking is free, compliments of Jesus," that we understand, truly understand kindness-the kindness of our Savior-the One who paid the ultimate price-His death in exchange for our freedom, our salvation.  Because He paid my parking fee, my debt is paid. The price for my sin is cancelled. The ticket that I thought was useless was necessary.  It's my ticket to freedom.

That is what leads us to repentance.  ...God's kindness leads you toward repentance (Romans 2:4). We apologize for disregarding the ticket and carelessly tossing it aside.  For allowing our sense of entitlement and rebellion to override a thankful heart. And in His mercy, He meets us there.  Oh, He is a good God!

Tomorrow, if those tickets are still there, I think I will get out of my car and pick them all up.  Why?  Because kindness is loving people more than they deserve.  Jesus did it for me.  Shouldn't I do the same?

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day:
You Are Good (Kari Jobe)

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