Speeding Ticket Lessons


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9 RSV

I have this dangerous little habit of being oblivious to the outside world when I’m in a supremely good mood. Take, for example, that long-ago day as a college student when I took some brand new students for a drive to see the sights in the local area. There I was, driving on the highway, happy as a bird, talking a mile a minute, and pointing out sights to my new friends. Then, all of a sudden, someone from the backseat said, “Sharon? Um, look to your left.”

Odd thing to do, I thought. But look I did. And there, glaring at me, was a police officer in a police car with lights flashing. He mouthed the words to me, “Pull over.” I did. Evidently, I was going the speed limit and all, but he felt I was not paying sufficient attention to the road. He literally told me I was talking too much. Yep. I was pulled over for talking too much. No ticket, just a warning. Considering I didn’t even notice him with lights flashing in the very next lane while I chattered away, a warning was a pretty light punishment.

Did I learn my lesson? Well … not completely. A few years back, I was, again, in a supremely good mood. Driving home from somewhere, singing praise songs along with my radio, feeling the joy of the day. Evidently, I was not looking at the speedometer. As I crossed the pretty bridge near our home, I saw a policeman standing partially in the road waving me over to a parking lot on the far side of the bridge. Several other disgruntled drivers were already parked there and being awarded tickets. Evidently, the police had decided to teach us all a lesson about the speed limit on that bridge.

Before I pulled over I did glance at my speed. Hoooo boy. I was going 50 in a 35 mph zone. Okay then. Since I did not feel that telling the officer I was singing happy songs and thus did not notice my speed would actually win me any points, I opted for the plain truth. I unrolled my window as he approached my vehicle. I looked up at him and said, “I so deserve this ticket.” His eyebrows raised. He glanced at a very crabby-faced man in a truck from whom he had just come. He looked at me. “Go on home,” he said, waving me off. “Just be more careful about your speed.”

Well then. Off I went while the truck-driving guy looked even grumpier as he watched me sail away. Did I deserve that grace? No. It was pure and undeserved favor. I was grateful. There is a lesson there, though—beyond the obvious one that I need to Pay Attention when I drive. And that is this: when you do something wrong, just admit it. Say it. Confess it. Whether it’s owning up to a policeman for speeding or coming clean with a friend you’ve wronged by betraying a confidence … if you’re guilty, admit it.

The apostle John assures us that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). And yet, all too often, we hide behind weak excuses instead of just admitting—we did it. The sooner we accept that we are, indeed, sinners and capable of doing and saying and thinking all kinds of wrong things—that we are actually born with a propensity toward sin—the sooner we can get over our pride and confess our wrongdoing. Only when we admit our failings and call them what they are—sin—can we come into the loving forgiveness of the Father. He stands ever ready to extend grace and wash us clean.

Oh, friend. Is something weighing on your mind? Do you need to admit it? Confess it. Say you’re sorry. It won’t kill you. God saw the whole deal, anyway. That’s why He died for you. He knew you would need much forgiving. He paid the price for your sin on that cross. Avail yourself of His mercy. It’s waiting for you. Just tell the truth, receive the grace, and “drive away” … cleansed and blessed and free.

Heavenly Father, please forgive me when I hide from You after sinning. Help me to admit it, bring it into the Light, and be forgiven. Wash me clean, dear Lord, that I might be a vessel fit for Your use in Your Kingdom work. I need You. I need the blessed forgiveness You offer … often. Thank You for Your grace and for new beginnings—every time I confess and come to You. In Jesus’ Name, my Savior, Amen.

You are loved,



Sweet Selah Ministries

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