Recently, I earned my first speeding ticket. I was not in a hurry, but I was not paying attention to my speed in my son's sportsy car. As I neared the bottom of the hill, I saw a policeman coming from a place where policemen are often parked. Of course, my immediate thoughts were, "Oh, no! I hope I'm not speeding!" and "Oh, no! I hope he didn't have his sensor on." The policeman turned around, and followed me to a stopping point so he could greet me. Tears welled in my eyes because I knew he had to give me a ticket.
This particular week was the week our van had broken down (thus the reason for driving my son's car), we had to visit the doctor that week, school starting brought new expenses, and this just topped off the financial strain! I was also dealing with the emotions of sending my oldest son off to college. I was happy and excited for him, but very sad and alone in my mother's heart without time to process it. Now, I was in his car getting a ticket!
- It was not wrong to speed just because I got caught. It was wrong to speed because I broke the speed limit law.
- It is not right to speed as long as I don't get caught. It is right to stay within the speed limit even though not everyone knows when I keep the law.
- I paid the consequential fine on time. If I do not acquire another offense in a certain amount of time, my driving record and auto insurance record will be clear.
This is an example of why developing good Christian character is important. We are all flawed in our humanity, but we can follow the principles found in God's Word that produce the fruit of good character qualities. It is certainly an art to only do right when others are looking, yet what a true reward it is to do right before the God we love!
"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." – I John 5:3
Why should we do right or even want to do right? To prevent getting caught? To get accolades for doing right? To appear a certain way? Or because of love for our God and Saviour? If we seek to please God with a pure conscience, we can live out Biblical character qualities. When we fail, it is best to acknowledge our sin and need for forgiveness, accept our consequences, and turn to God's way of thinking. He is forgiving and merciful, yet He will not be mocked with our repeated attempts to "get by without getting caught." If I continue to speed, thinking I can beat the system because after all, most everyone does it, I will eventually ruin my own driving record. If I don't heed that consequence, I could lose my privilege to drive a vehicle.
"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." -Proverbs 15:3
***Can we please be respectful when we reference our police officers? Sure, our culture calls them "cops," but they are officers serving us. They should be counted our friends. They are only enemies to those who live to "get by without getting caught."
If I don't want to speed down the hill again, I have to first choose not to do it. Secondly, I must take action by putting on my brakes as I go down the hill. My compliance with the law doesn't just happen. It is a conscious choice and effort. Godly character doesn't just happen either. I must choose to want it, and then take the steps necessary to acquire it. The book of Proverbs is loaded with steps to take.
I don't want to live my life "getting by without getting caught." There is a more excellent way to live.