By Stephen Goode
As much as some Christians can get obsessed with legalism and denigrating a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to nothing more than a set of rules, I believe it is fair to ask whether they would agree that speeding is a sin. Yes, I have just gone there! A taboo thing we don’t speak of because it is highly likely that you have looked down at your speedometer on many occasions realizing that you are pushing the sound barrier envelope while jamming to your favorite praise and worship song. Maybe you pushed 15 or 20 over the speed limit because you were late to a church service, and that makes it perfectly justified. Right? Aren’t some scripture passages rendered null and void due to our circumstances?
I spent more than 11 years writing all sorts of tickets to traffic violators, and my last 6 years of police work I was certified to operate radar, which means I wrote a number of speeding tickets. I recall stopping a pastor who was speeding more than 20 over the limit while on his way to preach at a church service, and I remember the lecture he attempted to give me about how he was doing the Lord’s work. When I began to quote Romans 13 to him on how he should obey the authorities that have been placed over him he went completely mute. Not as much out of anger toward me, but I had just called his hand and placed his driving in the proper perspective. It was the most direct and effective use of the Matthew 18 model I had ever witnessed, and I wasn’t even a member of his congregation. His harbored sin was of all things failing to submit to the government authorities out of impatience and pragmatism. This harbored sin had been rooted in his life to the point that he didn’t even consider what he was doing to be wrong or sinful. It can easily be explained where the apostle Paul writes to not allow sin to come into our lives because it will begin to direct and guide our actions (Rom 6:12).
Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?
Many times we justify sins we commit by putting them on the scales and trying to convince everyone that some sins are worse than others. Although I admit that some sins hold the spotlight much longer than less noted ones, it doesn’t give us a pass to repeatedly commit them. We know adultery is scarlet letter material, but offenses such as speeding, white lies, and even gossip take a back seat in our world. My point of this is not to scold everyone and storm off from the paper! I just want to give everyone a reality check that we should strive to live in a way that is above reproach, even when behind the wheel of our cars! Quit allowing even the littlest sins to remain in your presence without challenging their right to be in your life. Sure, we all sin and fall short (Rom 3:23), but don’t let it become such a chronic habit that you begin to be apathetic about removing it from your life and turning away from the pattern of sin.
Steps to Take Immediately
Until you can drive like you really wish to honor Jesus in all areas of your life, including driving, take the bumper stickers off! Even the one that says, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” It may be true (Romans 3:23), but get a grip on your weaknesses, then use the bumper sticker as a real testimony of your love for Jesus when you have had a little more practice.