It wasn’t a convenient day to get stopped for speeding.
I was driving home from the pharmacy with a fussy toddler in the back seat. Beside me sat a small paper sack containing bubble-gum flavored amoxicillin—that sweet elixir of hope.
My daughter’s first ear infection was painful for her and exhausting for me. Thankfully the doctor had a clear diagnosis and a promising fix. I just wanted to get home and let the healing begin.
Which is why I wasn’t paying attention to my speedometer. Smokey clocked me cruising 35 in a 25 just three blocks from my house.
I must’ve looked frazzled—as moms of sick kids do—because the officer let me off with a warning. But did you know warnings take just as long to write up as tickets? And my passenger wasn’t getting any happier the longer she sat rear-facing, blinded by flashing lights.
I’m not making excuses. But it’s important to note that my car was flowing with traffic (downhill, just saying) and the other cars were surely driving as fast as I was. What’s the harm in going with the flow? Everybody’s doing it!
Whoa. Hold on a second. If my kids uttered those words, I’d pounce with my mommy claws drawn.
I don’t care if everybody else is doing it! You are a Kopitzke—you are not everybody else! We do things different in this family!
How about that wildly popular but, admit it, totally raunchy TV show hubby and I watched last night? No harm done. I had my filter on. Mm, hmm.
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” (Philippians 4:8).
I really want that new dress. It’s not in this month’s budget, but I can charge it and worry about the bill later. Hey, all of America is in debt! Overspending is practically patriotic. I’m boosting the economy!
“Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions,’” (Luke 12:15).
That fellow mom at swimming lessons is super nice. I could invite her to my church moms group, but that might be awkward. I mean, people don’t want to talk about God at the pool, do they? I’ll stick with safer subjects—like sippy cups and hair salons.
“Do you not say, ‘Four months more, and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest,” (John 4:35).
Maybe I’m not so different after all. But I should be.
“. . . Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you,” (Romans 12:1–2, MSG, emphasis mine).
We’re Christians in a messed-up world. We should stick out a little. Not in a weird, look-at-me-I’m-a-nut-job kind of way. Jesus was not a freak. He was magnetic. People were drawn to him. Just imagine—if the world can see his love, compassion, and integrity in us, maybe they’ll want it, too. That’s no insignificant side-effect of living for Christ. Dare I say, it should be our purpose.
That evening, my toddler and I drove (slowly) home with our heads hanging low—hers from the earache and mine from embarrassment. When my husband greeted us in the kitchen and I confessed my brush with the law, I waited for a scolding or a joke. He spoke neither.
“Don’t feel bad, honey.” He took our weary daughter from my arms. “I’ve driven 35 on that street before, too. I guess from now on we’ll both pay better attention.”
Mercy. God gives it to us, and in that moment, my husband chose to pass it along to me. Perhaps that’s the simplest definition of acting like a Christian. I spooned out my daughter’s medicine and thanked God for my family, for amoxicillin, and for teaching me a lesson. No more going with the flow.
Oh, and Lord, speaking of mercy, thanks for dodging that speeding ticket. Who knows? Maybe the cop was a Christian, too.