Several years ago right around Christmas time, I had a very interesting cell phone bill. Texting had just caught on in our household and we had allowed our daughter the privilege of going from a pay as you go phone to being on a fixed monthly plan along with the adults in the house. Believe it or not, I’m a texter more than a talker now, but this incident was during the early stages of texting in our household. My daughter was becoming quite fast with her texting and her communication with friends now became conversations with no purpose….
Messages such as this:
Daughter: Wut r u doing
Daughter: Oh Haha
Daughter: me too
Friend: Have you seen that movie that they were talking about at lunch?
Daughter: No, but want to this weekend?
Daughter: Me too!
Daughter: See ya tomorrow and we’ll make plans
At that time we had a limited texting plan and overage was a quarter a text. Now, she thought that a whole conversation such as that would cost a quarter, when in reality it cost $3.25. So now multiply that by some 2500 texts over our limit and you have a phone bill that is not only unbelievably outrageous, but also as thick as a book! And that was what we had.. our bill…$600+ with another one on the way for over $300 AND it was nearing Christmas… Needless to say, our phone carrier received a nicer gift than our family did that year.
Anyway, several asked me if we punished our daughter only to be shocked that we didn’t. We disciplined but not punished…. We paid the phone bill and she had to work to earn the money for her upcoming mission trip of the same cost. She earned her money, learned her lesson, became aware of how money really works and grew in wisdom throughout it all. This is the part of the story when we get the most blank stares and then we get the “what I would have done” scenarios which almost always include taking the phone away.
Maybe we should have taken the phone away but instead chose not to “punish” because it wasn’t a defiant act, it was accidental. I guess to some degree, we showed her grace.
I was talking with a friend the other day and the topic of grace came up in our conversation… God’s grace is an amazing thing. My friend reminded me that the Greek meaning of grace is a translation of “a superior stooping, bending or reaching down in kindness to an inferior.” In a word picture of that, you can imagine that God bends down, looks you in the eye and hugs and holds you just like a child…grace. Wow, God’s grace is a choice and it is more than just grace in certain circumstances… but rather, grace in all things.
I’ve messed up so many times, even when I knew better…. even when I knew completely what I was doing was against what God would desire from me…. Even if He had reminded me over and over again of what I should NOT do… His grace doesn’t give me what I deserve. Whew! What a gift.
When my husband and I chose grace for our daughter, we not only did it because we love her and we knew she didn’t do it intentionally, but we also did it because we have experienced grace ourselves…. we passed it on in hopes she would and will too.
Today, I am thankful for grace- the Grace of God and the grace that I see exemplified by others.
John 1:15-17 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.