Most of the route I take to work in the morning has a lower speed limit and, I must admit, it takes effort and focus on my part to stay within the #speed limit during the drive. Last fall, in a lapse of concentration, I was driving 40 mph (maybe a bit more) in a 30 mph zone and was caught hook, line and sinker in a speed trap.
Whaddya gonna do? I paid the ticket and moved on. Now I keep my eyes open every morning and evening for that part of the drive where the #speed trap was set up. I learned my lesson.
Ok, maybe I don’t keep my eyes open every morning. Sometimes there’s a lot of glare from the sun – like the other day. I was driving along when a passing motorist flashed his lights at me. Ahhh…the universal signal for “speed trap ahead, slow down”. I lowered my speed and opened my eyes extra wide to see where they were set up. As I crested the hill, looked down and there they were. Same place I got nabbed before.
As I passed the speed trap at 30mph, I said a prayer asking God to help those who got tickets and I said a prayer of Thanksgiving for the #motorist who alerted me well in advance. With the glare, I may not have seen the trap. There’s a lot of things I may not have seen, for that matter. A pedestrian, a car turning in front of me, an animal.
To Protect and Serve Creates Controversy
My thoughts then diverted to something I’d read or heard about a motorist being ticketed for flashing his lights to alert oncoming traffic of a speed trap. Now I was extra thankful for this motorist’s kindness keeping in mind that in some places, outing a speed trap to fellow drivers is frowned upon by the police.
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
– Mark 12:28-31
This kind motorist protected me from harming myself and others. If that’s not a true expression of love, I don’t know what is. I don’t know if the driver had love in his heart when he did it. Maybe he was just paying it forward. Maybe he hates speed traps, or the #police, and doesn’t want anybody to get a ticket. I’ll probably never meet him so who knows what his motives were. But regardless of his motives, I received the gift of protection from him and I am grateful.
My lowered speed made me able to react faster, to avoid trouble, to keep myself and others safe. Think about this…what does it say on the side of many police cars? “To Protect and Serve”. When the police pulled me over last fall, they were protecting me and others and, by doing that, they were serving the community. When the good samaritan motorist flashed his lights, he was protecting me and others, serving his community as well. Unfortunate that some jurisdictions think it’s ok for the police to protect and serve but not fellow motorists.
The Spirit of the Law
I know there’s a competing argument out there about how flashing one’s headlights could blind an oncoming motorist and create an even more dangerous situation. Seems like the police, themselves, have a hard time supporting this argument even though it’s the law in the particular state referenced in this article…flashing headlights to warn others of police head can lead to ticket. Reminds me of those many times the Pharisees challenged #Jesus on the law.
It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the #Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely. And there in front of Him was a man suffering from dropsy. And Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the #Sabbath, or not? But they kept silent. And He took hold of him and healed him, and sent him away. And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” And they could make no reply to this.
– Luke 14:1-6
Poor Pharisees, they didn’t understand “The Spirit of the Law.”
I’m thankful for Jesus. He came to help us understand the core of God’s law and to call to repentance those who layered rule upon rule on top of the law, changing into something God never intended it to be. Lord, grant me the wisdom to always place God’s law first in my life.