I recently adopted two kittens named Hobson and Hannah. They are now about six months old, and they are a handful, especially the little boy kitten.
Hobson gave me a picture of grace recently. He loves to climb, especially on places he has no business climbing on. One of his favorite places to climb on is the wall of my walk-in shower, where he precariously tries to balance himself without falling in.
I have scolded him and told him to get down. I have warned him that if he does fall in, I’m not turning off the water. (I know, that sounds unkind, doesn’t it?) But if he paid the consequences of his disobedience, then maybe he’d obey the next time.
One day I realized that I hadn’t seen Hobson for an hour or so, and that was very unusual. So, I got up to check on him and had this sinking feeling in my stomach… oh, no, I wonder if he fell into the shower.
When I walked into my bathroom, this is what I saw – a cat helplessly trapped inside a “prison” with no way out. I had a choice. I could punish him and make him stay in there all day, without food, human touch, or comfortable surroundings. He would be separated from me and not able to experience my love.
Or I could extend grace to him and not make him pay the price for his disobedience. I could forgive him and free him from the predicament he had gotten himself into. As I looked at that sweet, pitiful face, I had mercy on him. I love him, and so I chose to extend grace to him – not making him pay the penalty. I opened the door, and he lovingly ran into my arms, happy to be able to enjoy my loving hand on him once again.
That is a picture of what God does for us. We’re guilty of sin and, as a result, we’re separated from God – His love and His provision. He could have left us isolated and made us pay the penalty, but because he had mercy on us and loved us, He extended grace to us through His Son Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty in our place.
We don’t deserve God’s grace, any more than Hobson deserved my grace. But God freely gave it because of His love and mercy. How could I do anything less?