Imagine yourself driving across Wyoming on a warm, sunny day in March. The speed limit is 75, but there’s not much traffic and the roads are straight, so why restrict yourself when you’re making such good time? Suddenly, a patrol car appears by the side of the interstate; your foot flies off the accelerator but you see those flashing lights in your rear view mirror. In that moment, chances are you’re not thinking about finding God in a speeding ticket. All you can think is that you’ve been caught.
John 8:1-11 tells the story of another woman caught red-handed. Some Jewish religious leaders dragged the woman before Jesus and asked him if she should be stoned for adultery, as the law of Moses stated. The woman stood alone, helpless and humiliated before the leering crowd. Her fate seemed to rest with the Man who stooped to write in the dust.
“The person who is sinless should be the first to throw a stone at her,” Jesus announced. One by one the men slipped away. Finally, Jesus faced the woman. “Where did they go? Has anyone condemned you?” he asked. “No one, sir,” the woman answered. Then Jesus replied, “I don’t condemn you either.”
In my case, the highway patrolman politely informed me that I had been going 83. He took my driver’s license and insurance card to run a check on me and my vehicle. A few moments later, he returned and handed me a written warning.
What relief! Instead of finding God in a speeding ticket, it turned out to be an opportunity to find Him in a written warning. I could have faced a stiff fine and having a citation on my driving record. Instead, the officer’s decision reminded me of God’s mercy and forgiveness. And his final words reminded me of Jesus’ instruction to the woman caught in adultery: “Go and sin no more.” The highway patrolman’s words were different but carried the same message: “Go and speed no more.”
©Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of The One Year Women of the Bible and three other daily devotional books. Visit her at www.DianneNealMatthews.com or @DianneNMatthews.
Fortunately, God is not as arbitrary as this police officer is in this gag video! God is fair and merciful, but he is also just.