The Ticket – Part 1
Chaplain Bill Wolfe
Hi, and welcome once again to the “Hot & Dry Edition,” I mean, August edition of the Chaplain’s Corner. I said it last year and I have to say it again; “Here it is almost football season again and still no rain.” At least none to speak of…two years of drought. It’s getting old. Sigh. You know it’s been a while without rain when the cactus start shriveling up. We did get a shower a couple of hours ago, just enough to settle the dust and raise the humidity. I had almost forgotten what the windshield wipers were for. Around here you sometimes have to replace wiper blades before you get to use them (exaggeration is the national sport of Texas, don’t forget). Moving on…
“The Ticket.” Nope, not a lottery ticket. The “Press hard…4 copies. Green one to the violator” kind of ticket. Perspiration…no, I mean, inspiration came to me the other day when I was filling out a citation. You’ve been with me long enough to know that I like using analogies to make a point. Well, here’s one more.
I started contemplating the similarities of things drivers say when you stop them to excuses people give when someone starts talking about God and especially having to give an account for their actions. And the more I thought about it, the more ideas I had and now there are going to have to be two parts to this.
Where to start? Where to start? Umm… here.
“Just because you have a badge doesn’t give you the right …”
It’s kind of like the “shoot the messenger” concept. The preacher doesn’t make the rules any more than the officer writes the Traffic Code. All we do is communicate to the public what is written, but when they don’t want to hear it, they take it out on the one bringing the message.
“I need for you to sign here. It’s not an admission of guilt, just a promise you WILL contact the judge on or before that date.”
There is a point at which the violator has to be held accountable for their actions/violations. The citation serves as notification that a “day of reckoning” is unavoidable. Each violator has to contact the judge on or before that date and the judge decides what their fate/options are.
The same is true in the spiritual realm. Each of us has a court date when we will appear before The Judge to answer the charge set against us. The Bible doesn’t name a specific calendar date, but it describes this, shall I call it, Spiritual Traffic Court … in the Book of Revelation. Unlike a JP or Municipal traffic court, in this Court there is only one verdict – guilty and no appeal.
However, there is also a “or before that date” option. Those who so desire can “make their peace” with God at any time. Becoming a Christian is basically “throwing yourself on the mercy of the Court.” It is also, in a sense, a receiving of a reverse “deferred adjudication.”
As I understand a deferred adjudication in traffic court, if you do not commit another infraction within a specified period (usually 1 year) the infraction that got you into court doesn’t appear on your record. What I was going to say was that, rather than the absence of a future action, for the Christian, the action that takes the mark off your record is accepting an action that happened 2000 years ago.
Now that I think about it, what happens when you become a Christian is actually a “transferred adjudication.” There is an adjudication – the person’s actions are judged to be a violation of the “Divine Traffic Code” – but the penalty for those actions are transferred to Another. His name is Jesus.
Switching back to the JP’s traffic court, one strategy that people often adopt is to “fight the ticket.” Many request a hearing or jury trial in hopes the officer won’t show or that they can talk their way out of it. By and large that is a forlorn hope. The officer who wrote the citation WILL show up and especially if a jury trial is requested. In the “Divine Traffic Court” comparison, there is no jury option. It is strictly Trial by Judge. Your word against His…strictly a “lose-lose proposition.” But as I said, you don’t have to choose this option.
I’m going to have to stop for now or we’ll be late for roll call. Give it some thought and we’ll pick it up again next “ride-along.”