Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Is it an accident if you do it 3,000 times?

When Accidental Becomes Intentional!

By closely tailgating the vehicle in front of him, Rodolfo Sanchez, a New York City taxi driver stealthily slid through the E-Z Pass lane for three years! Time after time he continued this sneaky technique and avoided paying tolls. Sanchez’ justification was that he was saving money for his family. It’s funny how we make excuses to shadow our behavior in self-righteousness. Everything was going well until he got caught. Sanchez reported that his own E-Z Pass device was missing years ago. That story was cool until a Metropolitan Transit Authority employee discovered the missing E-Z pass. After 3 years and 3,017 successful passes, his grand toll total came to a colossal $28,242.50. Sanchez has been charged with third-degree grand larceny, theft of services, and criminal possession of stolen property. If convicted he faces up to seven years in prison.

How many of us can honestly admit to justifying wrongdoing if we feel that the offense is minimal?

You knew it was wrong the first time you did it – yet somehow you got away with it. Therefore, you tried it again. You felt bad initially, but because you successfully escaped punishment, your feelings became obscured by pride. Example. We all get that heart sinking feeling when we speed past a highway patrol car. It doesn’t matter if you are two miles or ten miles over the speed limit, your foot lifts from the gas pedal and some of you push the gear shift into neutral. The anxiety of getting a ticket sends shivers through your spine.  But, as you glance in the rear view mirror, you realize he hasn’t fired up his flashing lights. After a few moments you give a sigh of relief and return to your speed. You escaped.

The problem with this scenario and many situations in our lives is that we have gotten comfortable with our accidents. The accidents have shifted from oops to on purpose. Samson knowingly allowed his wife, Delilah, to deceive him as he was proudly deceiving her. He became overconfident in his success.

Judges 16:20-22 New Living Translation (NLT)
20 Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him. 21 So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison. 22 But before long, his hair began to grow back.

The final time Samson was shook from his sleep, the soldiers captured him and gouged out his eyes. It was then that Samson actually woke up. Don’t wait until your eyes are removed for you to see that you are sleeping with the enemy (defiantly holding onto to behaviors, actions, circumstances, feelings, etc…).

There is hope! The bible says in verse 22, “before long, his hair began to grow back,” Samson’s punishment was not the end of his story. A little later we discover that Samson killed more Philistines in his death than life. We can make some major mistakes in life but understand this, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). Your mistakes can make a message that can alter your life and/or the lives of those connected to you.

Be mindful of the minor offenses that can eventually lead to major issues. Correct the action. Also, learn from your accidents and tell your story so that others don’t fall into the same trap.

Here is the link to the taxi driver article.