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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not Guilty

I had the recent scary experience of appearing in court today. I was summond to appear after receiving a ticket for not having a current proof of insurance. This event occured on a hot Alabama summer afternoon. I had made a Starbucks run for the office and was selected for a random inspection as I drove back on to Redstone Arsenal where I work.

This was in June and I had about four months to ponder the impending court date. Since I received the ticket on a military installation, I had to appear in Federal court. During the span of time I kept justifying my infraction with such lame excuses as, "They didn't have to give me a ticket", "I wouldn't have gotten a ticket if they didn't pick me for a random inspection", "They had no right to pull me over, they are just abusing their power", "They could have just let me go with a warning", and on and on.

Later I looked up the law and found that yes, rules were in place that required drivers to have a printed copy of their current insurance card. However, that didn't stop my excuses or attempts to rationalize my predicament.

Finally, my day in court came and I was going to let everyone have it. I played in my mind how I was going to explain the collossal waste of time. "I shouldn't have to go to court", "I am a responsible and law abiding citizen", "they should have looked past the 'technical" infraction' and you probably get the rest.

However, once I entered the court, I became a little more humbled. I sat in a gallery of others who just like me were appearing before a judge; noone talked. Suddenly, my excuses didn't sound so good, my rationale seemed weak, and resolve melted. Instead of preparing for a showdown, I prepared for judgement. Sitting in the stillness of a revered court and waiting for the judge, I felt insignificant.

Only one thing stood out; I violated the law and nothing else mattered. My clean record, my nice clothes, my support group behind me, nothing mattered anymore. I was there to answer for one thing; I didn't have my up to date insurance card.

Suddenly, sitting in the court among the guilty, waiting for my time to see the judge, my thoughts drifted to heaven and the final judgement. Would any arguement justify sinning? Can I rationalize any shortcomings? Not at all. The Bible is clear that our sin makes us guilty. God would easily find me guilty.

My thoughts were interrupted as my name was called.

"Yes, I'm here," I answered with a quacking voice.
"Come forward," she beckoned. "How are you today?"
I must have looked like a deer in the headlights.
"You received a ticket for not having a current insurance card?" She asked with a smile.
"Yes, I did." I tried to smile with a dry mouth.
"Do you have your proof of insurance?"
"Yes, I do." I managed to croak. I gave her my papers.
"Great, you're free to go." She stamped my papers and I was never more relieved.

Now I imagine standing before God, guilty of breaking his laws.
"Come forward." He commands.
I will look like a deer in the headlights.
"You lied, cheated and stole?"
"Yes I did", I'll say, not even imagining a smile.
"You believe in Jesus as your Savior, don't you?"
"Yes, I do." I'll manage to croak. He'll search and find my name in the Book of Life.
"Well done good and faithful servant." He'll let me in and I'll be relieved, knowing I'm forgiven and made whole.

We all might get our day in an earthly court. It's not about mitigating circumstances, but whether we did or we didn't, if we're guilty or not guilty.

The final judgment will not be any different. The only way to be excused from sin is to believe in Jesus and accept him as your savior. He covers our sin and makes us acceptable to God the father.

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