As I was on my way to the DMV, I rehearsed my speech in my head.

I knew I was about to have to pay a considerable fine for failing to renew the license plates on my motorcycle, but I had a thorough explanation ready to list off to whoever was at the counter. My motorcycle had been in the garage for the winter, and I’d heard that vehicles in storage didn’t need current plates, and I hadn’t been taking it out on the streets with the expired plates. Surely after I explained all this to the person at the DMV in the politest way possible, they wouldn’t charge me the full fine. I was even pleading with God for them to have grace on me. My plates had expired six months ago and the fine grew each month, so if they didn’t cut me any slack, I was going to have to pay several hundred dollars for my mistake.

It then occurred to me that I completely deserved this fine. I was aware that everyone has to pay to renew their license plates every year. And I knew as the months passed after receiving the initial notice that I still hadn’t paid the fine and it was just growing. No injustice had been done to me. I had done something wrong and I deserved to pay the penalty.

It made me think, how many times as Christians do we talk about the penalty Jesus paid for us without feeling the weight of what that really means? For the things I’ve done wrong in this life, Jesus paid a lot more than $200 to make it right for me. And he wasn’t even the guilty party! He gave his own life, enduring incredible hardship, humiliation, and pain so that I can spend eternity with him in heaven, made holy by his purity. It may sound trite, because we’ve heard it a thousand times, but this experience reminded me that remembering Jesus’ sacrifice is not trite at all.

Unfortunately for me, the speech I had prepared for the DMV did not work. But I was strangely okay with paying the fine. In reality, it was a small price to pay for a valuable reminder that Jesus’ sacrifice was costly, beautiful, and real.

by Lauren Bratten


“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” —Romans 5:8

Thank you Jesus for paying my fine. Help me never take this incredible gift for granted!