Ignoring trespassing signs can  be serious business. One teen fisherman and his friend learned this the hard way. They crossed over onto private property, noticing but choosing to ignore the warning signs. The boys had a great time catching and releasing the fish. The neighborhood pond was very well stocked!

Then, the game warden arrived.


The officer had it in his power to let the young men off with a warning but he didn’t. He chose to write a ticket.

The one who holds the power is the one who decides how to implement it. 
Maybe if the boys had a relationship with this man, he may have given them a pass. They didn’t. So he didn’t.

No mercy. No grace.

Personally I have tossed my line into the water when I know I shouldn’t. I am also guilty of ignoring the warning sings. John Newton says, “I am a great sinner in need of a great savior.” I am in the same boat.

What if I got what I deserved? 

Punishment. Condemnation.

But instead I get what I don’t deserve.

Mercy. Grace.

I can’t earn grace. I can’t expect mercy. But what I do have is a relationship with the one who lived the life I should have lived and died the death I should have died. He is the authority and judge.

I am thankful that the one who judges me is also the one who loves me. I’m thankful for the mercy and grace I have received.

As a mom, I try and remember God’s perfect balance between justice and mercy, and truth and grace. There are times I may institute a more severe sentence for trespasses than necessary or let someone off the hook (so to speak) when it would have been wiser to implement a consequence. In the case of the fisherman, they would have learned the lesson without the big penalty.

In wrath remember mercy.
Habakkuk 3:2

Have there been times in your parenting where you doled out a deserved yet bigger punishment than necessary? Or when you needed to reinforce a life lesson and you let it go?  When have you been able to show and teach grace and mercy in your home without forgetting about truth and justice?

Lori Wildenberg
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About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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