I was arrested and confined in Africa several times over the years.
I didn’t know it was illegal to cross a road.
It didn’t matter I was guilty.
I didn’t know it was against the law to get out of the car on the left side.
Whether I knew it or not, I had to be punished.
The embassy told me I didn’t need a visa.
The military coups d’état changed the government’s status. So I went to jail over night with the rest of the criminals.
Each time I was guilty!
Several months ago on my way back from Virginia, I was ticketed for going 76 in a 55 mph zone. On the day of traffic court I drove two and a half hours north, spent the night and got up and drove another hour to the courthouse.
The officer lined sixty of us ticketed people up in the rows of chairs. No one spoke. Seeing the serious expressions and hearing the deadly calm, I closed my eyes and prayed. People glanced around at others with worried faces. I’d never gone to traffic court in the States. Still, I didn’t think they’d haul us off to prison for three months like they do in Africa or march us outside and execute us like in other countries.
I was guilty. As I waited, not knowing what my punishment would be, I dreaded my sentence. Could this be what Hell is like? For a moment, I imagined the earth opening and all of us sinners were dropped into a lake of fire and torment to experience it. Terrifying! Scary! After all we wouldn’t have been there if we were innocent.
By the time I went before the assistant district attorney, (the judge wasn’t there) my head pounded and chest hurt. I felt like I was going to faint.
At the time I looked at my speedometer and was going 70.
“You were speeding and going 76.”
I kept quiet but thought that lots of vehicles were on the interstate on graduation weekend and traffic was congested. I didn’t see the 55 mph sign. I drove right along with the others.
It didn’t matter, I was guilty.
Someone wrote out the list of taxes, court services, and “criminal fees”. The amount of $218 was typed on my receipt. After paying it I was relieved the ordeal was over, but Hell would never be over.
“For there is none righteous, no not one. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:10, 23
We’re all guilty. Praise God we can ask forgiveness and repent of our sins. The Lord will save us from the eternal Hell and damnation that await all of us. For there is no one who hasn’t sinned.
I thank my Lord and Savior for His redeeming Grace.