Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ridin duuuuuuuuuurtay!

Trying to catch me riding dirty!

Romans 13:3-4 (MSG)

Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly – not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live.

Let me start by saying that every person carries a certain amount of preconceived notions daily. The circumstances they endure are educated on, and experience as apart of their everyday environment contribute to their mindset. Every police officer is not perfect nor is every citizen. However, there must be order and adherence to instruction.

One Sunday, I was eager to arrive early for church. Everything seemed right that day. It was like a scene from The Sound of Music. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and people were waving. I had my worship music playing as I exited the garage and headed to church. I turned on the street in front of my house and made it to the first stop light. The light was red - I stopped. I also 9remember really enjoying whatever worship song was on the radio. This was the perfect day!

The light turned green and as I accelerated through the light a police officer passed me headed the opposite direction. I looked in my rear view mirror just to see what he was doing or where he was going. (Don’t tell me I’m the only one that checks when an officer drives past) Then it happened. He turned on the flashing lights atop the squad car and turned around. My pulse raced, my heart jumped in my throat, as a rush of thoughts filled my head. 

Given everything that has happened in the news lately – I was uncertain what to expect. Am I being singled out? What could I have possibly done wrong? I checked my seatbelt, looked at my speedometer, and questioned the volume of my music. He pulled up right behind me and motioned me to pull over. Once stopped, I took the keys out of the ignition, turned on my hazard lights, checked my seat belt again, and started reaching for all of my credentials.

The officer, of a different ethnicity, approached my car and asked for my driver’s license and insurance. Then he explained that he pulled me over because my registration sticker was expired. This officer must be related to Robocop. How did he see that while passing me? He then asked me why was it expired. I had to be honest and said, “Sir, I travel a lot for work and have not had a moment to get it done.” Then came my excuses, “I work with kids, I work at a church, I’m headed to church, I am going to get it fixed.” He went back to his car and came back with a warning and a, “Don’t be late to see the big man!” It was like a mutual respect. He had to do his job and he wanted me to be safe on the way to my job.

Here’s what I learned:

1. If we never get stopped or challenged about our wrong deeds will we ever cease making bad decisions? I did not enjoy being pulled over for my inspection sticker but honestly it was beyond the grace period. Getting another sticker was not a priority. How long will you keep falling before you make right standing your standard?

2. Respect is paramount. It would have been deleterious to argue with the officer about him making me late for church or how he was potentially ruining the start to my day. He is just doing his job. I was wrong and deserved to be stopped. 70% of arguments occur from how something was perceived and 30% occur from how it was said. (Cumby university statistics).

3. Live responsibly. Authority is not just the individuals who carry a badge. Take ownership of your actions and strive to make good decisions that not only please God but also are in order - which will give a good example to others.