“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4:17 NLT
The knowledge of right and wrong brings with it the responsibility and accountability of choices made. We are held accountable, by God, for the decisions we make. Our understanding of His standards help us set boundaries that frame up our lives. When we know the commands, statutes, and principles of scripture we become informed and are, thereby, held to a higher standard. The same is true in our society, lawfully. Let me give a story to illustrate. Several years ago, while returning home from a revival in Snow Camp, N.C. I was pulled over in Siler City, N.C. by a local law enforcement officer. I was perplexed because I didn't understand why. As far as I knew, I was abiding by the speed limit. When the officer approached my window he proceeded to tell me that the speed limit drops from 55 to 35 just before the Snow Camp Rd. intersects Hwy. 64 in Siler City. I was unaware of this. He asked me what I was doing in the area and I explained. He understood that I was unfamiliar with the area. He was cordial and sociable. We talked a moment about our faith in Christ and that he was a Sunday School teacher at a Wesleyan church. He returned to his vehicle and told me he'd be back in a moment. I thought to myself "here comes a ticket". When he returned to my car he handed me a document. It was a warning ticket. The officer was merciful and told me to be careful about my speed in that area because of the locals who like to walk the streets at night. I was appreciative and grateful. He told me that he may come see us at the revival and, sure enough, he did. My son Joseph was with me that evening. I introduced Joesph to the off duty officer and Joseph asked him if he'd like to buy a candy bar because the youth were selling candy bars to go to summer camp. The gentleman was gracious and bought one. He handed Joseph a hundred dollar bill and told him to keep the change toward his camp expense. That one purchase almost covered Joseph's entire camp cost. I have never forgotten that occasion. The officer had the authority to penalize me for my violation but, instead, chose to show mercy for my ignorance of the speed limit. How many times has God done the same for us in so many ways. He looks upon our lives and, mercifully, pardons our transgressions. However, it is vital for us to know this one thing: Once we have come to the knowledge of our wrongs, and have been made aware of our violations, the expectation of compliance is raised. Let us not use God's mercy as a springboard for our blatant disobedience. He will hold us accountable. When He does, He will be just in doing so. By the way, I am keenly aware of the speed limit in that area now.
Rev. Curtis Norris