Enough time has passed that I can tell you a story. Back in July, my family and I took a day trip to visit Lake Guntersville where my parents were camping for a week or two. It was a really good day. We had a good lunch, did a little shopping at The Unclaimed Baggage Store, had a good visit with my parents and had a great catfish dinner that night.
But something happened. During the day, Amy received a notification that a package she was expecting the next week had been delivered to the house. It was some Alice in Wonderland themed curtains for her classroom, she ordered them to cover three storage shelves in her room. She was excited to have a new theme and was working hard to make the room a creative learning environment for her incoming students.
We we arrived home ad 10:20pm, the package was not on our porch. I grabbed a light and check a couple of neighbors’ porches. UPS has been known to leave our packages on our neighbors’ porches by mistake. They were not there. Walking back to the house, I noticed some footprints in the dew, that were not ours. The were coming from near the mailbox, across the grass to the sidewalk that leads to our porch. That is when my son, came out and said “Alexa says, dad had a delivery, too.” I checked my email. Sure enough, some taillights I had ordered for my truck were also supposed to be there. We had one conclusion. We were victims of Porch Pirates. A neighbor was able to get a video an image of a suspicious car that stops right where I saw the footprints. The time stamp on the image indicates that we came home thirty minutes after our packages went missing. Once we were certain, we filed a report with the police, knowing that there was not much they could do, but just to let them be aware of the incident. A few days later, we also realized two more packages were supposedly delivered that day. Two we were not expecting. Our losses were totaling up.
Thankfully all the vendors were kind enough to resend the order or to refund our losses. But we still felt victimized. Later in the same week, someone knocked a mirror off of my truck. A neighbor saw it happen and said it looked purposeful. Random vandalism, but it was frustrating.
We were angry. We were hurt. We made changes, we took steps. We purchased a video doorbell system. We change our ordering practices. I watched eBay and Marketplace for my taillights to be offered for sale. We had other packages delivered to Amy’s school or to the church building. How could anyone do this to me? Why us? We are good neighbors in a decent neighborhood. Children still play in the streets, ride bicycles, and play basketball, soccer, and baseball in front yards. Families walk in the cool of the day and people walk their dogs.
As I reflect on my emotions concerning the piracy and vandalism, I wonder. I wonder how God feels when we violate His mercy and grace. After all, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live leftest-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” (Titus 2:11-12). “Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance, and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” (Rom 2:4)
How does God feel when we try to “take advantage” of His love? How does He feel when we presume to “pirate” grace and mercy? I know how I felt victimized by those who stole from me and damaged my property – It was not and is not fair that someone take what we work hard for or damage what I purchased. I want the porch pirates and vandals stopped. I want them to answer to the law.
I also know that Christ died on the cross as the victim for my sin – that is not fair. It is just, because God is the Righteous and Just God. I am glad it is not fair. Fair would mean I receive the penalty for my sin, I don’t want that, I might deserve it, but I don’t want it. Graciously, God has declared that when I am in Christ, I don’t have to! Neither do you. Romans 6:1-7