By Pastor Nate Bjorge
Faith Lutheran Church,
My wife came home and told me that the brake light is out on our van. A man that she doesn’t know told her that the light was out and that if she doesn’t get it changed she could be fined $100. Now what do you suppose my wife’s reaction was? Do you think she responded with, “It’s none of your business about my light, and who do you think you are telling me that I need to change it?” Her actual response was to thank this stranger so that she could replace the brake light and no longer be breaking the law.
As we all hopefully know, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Although my wife did not know about the brake light, that did not excuse her from being in violation of the law. God has given us his law so that we may order our lives. God gave us his law for our benefit, so that we could live together peacefully with one another.
There is a penalty for breaking God’s law. St. Paul reminds us “that the consequence of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Now if a stranger approached you and said, “Hey, what you’re doing violates God’s law and there is a severe penalty if you don’t change your behavior.” What would your response be? And remember even with God’s law ignorance is no excuse. (Romans 2:14-16)
What would your response be if a friend or family member warned you about some sinful attitude or behavior? My guess is gratefulness would not be the response for most of us. The reality is that many of us lack the courage to confront others regarding sin. And we need to remember that warning someone of sin is not judging, it is showing concern. Certainly the man who pointed out my wife’s brake light was not judging her but helping her.
There is a law and a penalty if your brake light is out because we know the consequence could be an accident resulting in injury or death. The stranger did my wife and others a favor by pointing out the light.
Why do we seem to be blind to the consequence of breaking God’s law? We injure ourselves and others when we break God’s law. St. Paul asks the question, “Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4) God has given us his law because he loves us. And in his love for us he desires that we will repent or turn away from breaking his laws because in his kindness he does not want us to suffer the penalty.
By the time you are reading this reflection, our brake light will be changed and shining brightly thanks to a stranger. Hopefully we can all encourage each other to make the changes that are necessary within our lives and to allow Christ’s light to shine brightly within us.