The Grace of the Speeding Ticket

Pull OVER!

“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7 NASB)”

     “Do you know how fast you were going?”

     Of course I wanted to say “At the moment, Sir, I didn’t even remember my van even had a speedometer. But, I’m sure I was going fast enough to warrant you pulling me over.” But, I restricted my response to “No, sir.”

     “64 in a 45.”

     That was a kick in the gut.

Are You Sorry?
     Two kinds of sorrow: worldly sorrow and godly sorrow. Worldly sorrow says “I’m mad I got caught. It ignores the sin and blames the cop or the person who pointed out the fault. It is impotent and devoid of transformative power. Godly sorrow recognizes there was sin involved and deals with it. It says I’m mad that I sinned.” Inherent in godly sorrow is the vital power to affect change. 

     Deputy Parker made a point of giving me an epilogue after he gave me my citation: “Mr. Pina, you were very polite. Most people are belligerent and argumentative when I pull them over, but you were very decent… if that makes any difference to you.”

     Funny, at the moment, it was a flimsy, cheap, second place trophy. It didn’t make a difference to me I wanted a verbal warning. But, God loves me too much for that. He loves you too much for that. I can’t say that it was me, Mr. I’m-So-Holy who was so polite. I’m rejoicing now in the fact that I could see this evidence of the Holy Spirit doing what my weak flesh wanted nothing to do with: enduring hardship in the knowledge that through this deputy’s actions, I was being chastened by the Father who loves and disciplines me as a dearly loved son. It could have been an accident. It could have been the death of my three toddlers in the backseats or even someone else’s…

“…God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will…
(2 Tim 2:25-26 NASB)”

     We’ve had this talk before, haven’t we? “Trials are necessary.” But, every once in a while, don’t we all find ourselves “out of our senses”, doing what is contrary to God’s design for us, and in need of a grant of repentance that leads to the knowledge of truth?

The Pause That Refreshes
     Sometimes bad things happen just because we live in a Genesis 3 world and are stalked by an enemy who hates us because of his hatred for Him who created us in His image. But, for the blood bought, born again believer in Christ, abiding in Christ will have its challenges, hardships, and curve balls. Today, consider something you’re doing that would make you sorry if you got caught and ask this: “would I be angry if I got caught… or thankful?”

     Sin is heavy and its consequences are a great burden. The knowledge of truth helps us experience the relief of its weight. It can set us free from an enemy who holds us captive to do his will. It is only by grace given. Godly sorrow is the thumbprint of God on our souls. A right attitude toward God and proper perspective that He truly wants good for us changes our attitude toward sin and leads us away from weak, worldly sorrow.

     Pause for a moment in your next or current affliction. Pray today that God catches you in whatever sin has you snared and beg for a shift away from worldly sorrow and toward godly sorrow. It is available. It is necessary, fruitful, and it is… a gift… by grace

     May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He open your eyes to the places where you are being held captive by the enemy and set you free by the knowledge of truth.

Staying Out of the Shredder

Spinning Blades Coming Closer!!!
     Ever get into a disagreement with someone that turns uglier and uglier even though you’re giving it your best effort to resolve your differences? It feels like your clothes are caught in a shredder and you’re being pulled into its sharp, chomping blades.

Motor and Opportunity
     The motor of a shredder has one motive – turn the shredding blades. This is good news when the right material is put into the shredder. But, interpersonal conflict is one shredder we don’t want to get our flesh or hearts caught up in. One way to avoid getting shredded is to stand clear of it and make sure you don’t get your lose clothing near the opening. Don’t give the shredder opportunity to do any more than shred what’s supposed to be shredded, got it? Easier said than done…

     Crisis and conflict reveal our loose clothing. Financial pressure can be like a necktie dangling over the blades. Unresolved past issues with this person can be like untied shoelaces locked in the shredder. Pride over admitting your faults or even avoiding the words “I was… wrong…” can get you sucked into the shredder despite the stiff arms you’ve extended to protect yourself.

     The good news about a good shredder is there are at least two buttons. One forward and one reverse. Giving in to offense and moving forward in quarrel is pressing the shred button.

     How do you get out once you’re in? First, you’ve got to unclog the motor. Second, you’ve got to get your clothing out of the blades. “Repent” is the reverse button. Press it generously and quickly to free yourself from the blades.

“Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Rev 2:16”

What’s Her Problem?!
     Two weeks ago, I was meeting with a man I meet with regularly and his wife texted him about something he’d done or said carelessly. His eyebrows furrowed and I could see frustration wash over his face. She had confronted him about his poor choice. He looked at me and asked “what the heck do I say in return to that?!”

     “I was wrong. Please forgive me.” I told him. Her problem was that he had done something he shouldn’t. Now, he could easily have pridefully justified what he did and dragged forward his excuses. But, that would have just tangled more of his clothing in the blades. The way out, in this case, was not through. It was to be through by repenting. Continuing in sin is fighting against God, who you don’t want to fight against. (See Rev. 2:16 above.)

     There’s something about true repentance that can stop the shredder from spinning. Though it won’t fix the torn clothes or flayed flesh, it can at least keep us from making the damage worse and giving us space and time to heal. Repent. Admit your wrong doing and turn from it. Agree with God that you’ve done the wrong thing and trust Him with the outcome.

in Christ,