Slow Down

Written by Pastor Eric Everhart

A couple weeks ago we had a really good night of discussion and conversation after our youth Bible study. I’m always amazed (and proud) at what these students are thinking about and how much they dig into God’s word. I was really pumped up as I locked up the church and shut out the lights. I turned out onto Division Avenue headed home, my mind still racing with all we had talked about. It was a great night! 

As I drove towards home, my mind was still going 100 miles per hour! Unfortunately, my foot was feeling all that joy as well as I sped past an Allegan County Sheriff sitting in the dark. Sure enough, the bright blue lights began to turn and the sirens wailed. I looked down and saw that I was doing five over the posted speed limit. I couldn’t believe he was pulling me over for five over! I moved off to the side of the road, the blinding lights of the officer’s car in my eyes. My joy was going to get me a ticket tonight.  

The young officer came up to my window and asked me for my license and registration. As he looked at my information he asked, “Mr. Everhart, is that you Pastor E?” Oh man, this guy knows me……can this get any worse? The officer began to share with me that he was a student at South Christian when I was teaching there. I recognized his face but couldn’t place his name. We chatted for a couple seconds and then he headed back to his truck to run my information.

He quickly returned and asked me, “Pastor E, do you know why I pulled you over?” Why in the world do they ask that question? Of course I knew why he pulled me over and he knows why too, why is he asking me that? With a bit of sarcasm I answered, “Yes sir, I was doing five over.” He asked, “Do you know what the speed limit is?” “Yes sir, it’s 55 on this stretch,” he shook his head and looked down at my information…I quickly added, “but it was only five over, is it that big of a deal? It’s late and nobody is even out here.” Immediately, I regretted what I said.

With a smile on his face he looked up at me and asked, “Pastor E, if the speed limit is 55 and you are doing 56 and nobody sees you, are you still speeding according to the law?” I wanted to have a quick come back but I knew where he was going with this so I conceded. “Yes sir, you would still be speeding, I get what you are saying.” The officer chuckled, handed my information back and said, “It was good to see you Pastor E, I hope you have a great night. Thanks for what you do and slow down.” I shook my head and said goodnight knowing that the student just became the teacher.  

Reflecting on that from a faith point of view…don’t we do that with our sin? We say things like, “It’s just a little white lie,” or “It’s just a dollar they won’t miss it,” or “They gossiped about me so they deserved it,” or “I will only look at that website just once, nobody is watching.” Or how about the sins that are in our hearts, or the things we think? How about the sins we do when nobody is around to see? Come on, it was only five over!    

The reality is, no matter how small the sin may seem to us, or what reason we use to justify our sinful acts, or whether there is anyone around to see it or be hurt by it–despite all these things, we are still sinning. We are still in violation of the Law and our sin separates us from our Lord. 

It’s funny…we know that when we are sinning God sees our sin–even if nobody else does, yet we still do our best to explain our sin away, to shift accountability away from ourselves, and to justify what we have done. God must look down at us shaking his head sometimes.  “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” Proverbs 28:13.

Brothers and sisters, when the bright shiny lights of the “law” are upon you, God knows and you know where you have fallen short. Take responsibility for your decisions, repent to God, ask for his forgiveness and “slow down.”  Experience the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ as you turn from your sin, speed towards him, and embrace his wonderful joy once again! 

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,

that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

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