I remember my first (and only) speeding ticket. I was 16-years-old and had four friends in the car. I was foolishly going about 15 mph over the speed limit when the flashing lights appeared in my mirrors. My hopes of getting off with a warning vanished with the slip of paper the officer handed to me. I was embarrassed in front of my friends, but the worst part was still to come: telling my parents.
Several years ago, I read an article entitled, “10 Tips To Avoid Speeding Tickets.” With my curiosity peaked, I drove into the article looking for some hidden gems (not that I will ever need them, of course). Most of the reasons given were pretty self-explanatory. It advised people to have better “situational awareness.” It warned us to be “ready for speed traps” and to “drive a less flashy car in the slow lane.” It even suggested that we “fight every ticket in court.”
After making it through all 10 suggestions, there was one very clear and important tip missing – don’t speed! Sure, sometimes the speed limit changes without warning, or we accidentally have a lead foot, but if we are just conscience of our speed, we won’t get a ticket. The vast majority of people who get speeding tickets deserve them. I know I deserved mine.
It’s interesting that, at times, the most obvious solutions are the last we think about. Too often people are looking for ways to “avoid getting caught” rather than for ways to “prevent the mistake” in the first place. This is a very crucial difference in our mindset. The impact of our mindset can even influence our salvation.
2 Corinthians 7:10 explains, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (7:10).
The “sorrow of the world” is talking about people who are just sorry they were caught. They aren’t sorry they sinned. Scripture says this type of sorrow produces death.
On the other side, “sorrow according to the will of God” is talking about people who are deeply sorry they have sinned against God. Their sorrow has caused them to change their ways (i.e. repentance). This change occurs whether they are caught and punished or not. This type of sorrow leads to salvation.
Obviously, we want to do everything we can to receive salvation. This requires us to ask a tough question though, “At times we get caught in the wrong, are we sorry we got caught, or are we sorry we sinned against God?” May we never be people who just try to get away with doing wrong. Let’s be people who are genuinely sorry for doing wrong, and then be dedicated to changing our ways.