“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
Several years ago, while in a frazzled hurry, I hit a parked car. “Mommy, did you crash?! Did you break our car?” my little boys shouted from the backseat. I wasn’t worried about dinging our well-loved (read: beat up) minivan. But when I got out and saw the sizable dent in the shiny red bumper of the new SUV I foolishly hit, my heart sank into the pit of my stomach.
With hot tears stinging my eyes, I rifled through my purse for a pen and a paper. All I could find was my Walmart shopping list and a green crayon. So over the words bread and cereal, I scribbled a heartfelt apology along with my name and phone number so the car owner could call me.
Surely the bumper would have to be replaced, probably to the tune of a thousand dollars. I felt so stupid. So sorry. So ashamed. For days, a lump rose in my throat every time my phone beeped or rang. But the red SUV owner never called.
A couple of weeks passed. One day I answered the phone without thinking. “Hello?”
“Hi, this is Mary. I’m sorry it’s taken me a while to call but I just wanted to thank you for the note you left on my car,” the unfamiliar voice said. It took a minute to register.
“Oh my goodness, Mary. Thank you for calling. I’m so very sorry I hit your car. Let’s talk about repairing the damage,” I said.
“Oh, not at all dear. I just wanted to tell you I appreciated your kind note,” she replied.
“Oh, Mary, are you sure? I feel awful about it.”
“Don’t you worry at all. I could hardly see a thing,” she assured me. “I’m just thankful for your wonderful little note. I hope you and your family have a blessed day.”
Now tears streamed down my face for a different reason.
Jesus has been my Savior for 35 years. I grew up in the church and I’ve read my Bible regularly for two decades. But the thing that helped me truly understand the depth of God’s loving-kindness and grace wasn’t a sermon or theological discussion. It was a lady named Mary calling to say I didn’t have to fix her banged-up bumper.
Romans 5:8 (NIV) tell us, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse sums up the power and beauty of undeserved kindness in the greatest display ever made.
Undeserved. That’s the undercurrent of God’s great story of redeeming His people. He did what He did not have to do for the sake of love.
Kindness is not something we earn or deserve. Kindness is the overflow of love. Compassion and mercy in action. That’s who Jesus is and how He lived. That’s the life He’s calling us to live too.
TODAY: Instead of demanding that the one who wronged you make it right, offer the mercy of undeserved kindness.
-Written by Becky Keife, adapted from her (in)courage book, The Simple Difference.
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