Guilty As Charged

A couple weeks ago I had an unpleasant first: getting pulled over. By a cop. For running a stop sign. I was returning home from the library at night and suddenly realized I was speeding. While I was slowing down and keeping an eye on my speed, I must’ve passed the stop sign. Didn’t even see it. But the cop did. And he promptly pulled me over. Four-plus years of a clean driving record washed down the drain. I was hoping for mercy, but he had none. So, $160 later, I have my first ticket.

Two things enrage me about this incident: 1) My ticket cost had two components-$20 for running the sign, the rest toward “court costs.” What gets me is that hefty sum for “court costs.” I get the $20, that’s just. But how is the rest of that fair,just, or right? I guess I’ll go join the “Occupy Wall Street” movement…wait, does that still exist?

The second thing that really angers me, and this is more important than the first point, is that I was guilty as charged. Yes, I had run the stop sign. Yes, it was an accident. Still, I was guilty. It was a shock to me. A kid I knew in high school used to call me “Mr Perfect”. I hated that term because I knew I wasn’t..and am still not. But to actually be confronted with my wrong-doing–and to pay the penalty!–ruffled my feathers. I realized I wasn’t as innocent as I thought I had been. I had sinned against society, ever so slightly, and had to atone for that. And $160 later, my guilt was atoned for.

This incident made me appreciate more what Christ has done for me. Had I died in my sin I would’ve appeared before God and been charged with things far worse than accidentally running a stop sign. But under Christ, these charges may be leveled at me, but they cannot carry any weight. My guilt was atoned for when Jesus shed His own blood on the cross. I may’ve had to pay $160 to an earthly court, but Jesus covered that cost in a heavenly one. And for that, I’m very thankful.

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