The Merciful Judge
In July I purchased an old Ranger pickup, and I drove it to work on August 9th. A Tennessee State Trooper pulled me over. I explained to him how I had recently purchased it and even though I had insurance, I had not received a proof of insurance card yet. Nevertheless, this did not deter him in the performance of his duty, and he gave me the ticket. I got my insurance card and tagged the truck on payday. I thought I had taken care of everything with the ticket, and went on with life, forgetting I had ever gotten the ticket.
I received an official letter from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security dated December 11, 2013. To my surprise, it stated my drivers license was going to be revoked in 30 days for failure to satisfy a traffic citation in “Hamblen County, Tennessee” on August 9, 2013. I had to go to Google Maps to discover Hamblen County is 200 miles away in the Northeast corner of Tennessee and I live in Cannon County closer to middle Tennessee. Furthermore, I was at work that day in Rutherford County. How could I have ever driven 200 miles after work on a Friday afternoon and forgot about getting a ticket or even why I would be there of all places?
There was a phone number on the letter, so I called and after the usual government hold wait time of about 50 minutes, I was told to contact Hamblen County. So,I contacted the Hamblen County Sheriffs office, the Morristown Police Department, and the Hamblen County Circuit Court Clerks office. There was no record of this ticket the State of Tennessee said I received.
I then recalled the phone number on the letter again and after the regular government wait time of about 30 minutes, I was given the number to the Office of Financial Responsibility. The first time I called, the man said he would have to pull the copy of the ticket and call me back. Even though I gave him my cell phone number, he never called back.
A few days later, I called the Office of Financial Responsibility again. This time I waited on hold for the lady to get the copy of the ticket. After about 20 minutes, she returned and stated the ticket was in Rutherford County for driving on expired tags and not showing proof of insurance.. When I asked why the letter stated “Hamblen County”, she replied, matter of factly, it was just a clerical error and that happens from time to time, but regardless, if they did not receive a letter from the court, my license would still be revoked.
Oh, yeah, that forgotten ticket from the State Trooper!
Now, I needed to track down the ticket at the Rutherford County Clerks Office and see what I could do about the ticket there. I called and was told I missed the court date in September, and I needed to promptly pay $417 to prevent my license from being revoked. What court date? Who could I talk to about it? Was there an appeal? The supervisor told me the same thing. Later that afternoon, I went by the clerks office to Room 103 and got a copy of the ticket. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about it, but I did know I needed all the documents.
I just didn’t have $417 to spend on a ticket before Christmas..The state of Tennessee website has a free legal advice page, so I emailed them my circumstances and asked if there was an appeal process and what I could do. Their reply back said there was nothing I could do since I missed the court date, and “Pay the $417.”
A couple of days later, I went back to the clerks office in Room 103 and showed the man at the desk my letter from the state, the registration, and the proof of insurance. He typed on his computer, and flatly stated, “That will be $417. We only take cash or check.” I then explained I did not have $417, and asked if there was someone to talk to about it. Hardly looking up and in that very flat government bureaucracy voice, he stated, “Take it to Room 101.”
As I walked the short distance to Room 101, I prayed Peter’s short, but powerful prayer, “Lord save me!”. As I walked through the door, I saw four desks, two on the left side and two on the right side. I immediately realized I was standing in the judges administration office. I glanced directly in front of me into a second room with doors wide open, and realized that was the judges chamber with a large prestigious desk as the focal point of that room. There was an older, distinguished looking man at the desk immediately to the left closest to the outside door talking casually to another man in the chair in front of the desk. There was another, younger man, at the desk by the far wall going into the judges chamber. Realizing in that moment the man at the first desk was the judge, himself, I walk to the younger man at the second desk and assumed he was the judges aide.
The man looked up and asked what he could do for me. I quickly related my story and showed him my paperwork. He asked for the ticket and I gave him the copy. He said, “No, I need the original ticket.” I then went back to Room 103 praying the whole way and said they need the original ticket in Room 101. I told the man what the aide had said. Without saying a word or even asking my name, he promptly got up, went to a large filing cabinet on the back wall and retrieved the original ticket. He took the ticket to Room 101 himself as I followed. The aide took it, looked it over, and told me to wait in the hallway. The judge was now seated at his large prestigious desk in the second and from the window in the hallway door, I could see judge and the aide talking.
A few moments later, the aide came out to the hallway, and flatly stated the judge dismissed the ticket, but admonished me not to miss a court date again. As we walked back into Room 103, I felt a sense of relief and confidence that I would not here, “That will be $417. We only take cash or check” again. He gave the ticket back to the clerk and stated flatly that the judge had dismissed it. Without even looking at me, the clerk took the ticket. I left silently, but this time free from the burden of paying out $417 before Christmas and free to know my driver license privileges would not be revoked. Yes, I was guilty of not following the letter of the law by not having proof of insurance, I was guilty of driving on expired tags, and I was guilty of missing a court date. Everyone said I was guilty and must pay the penalty, except for the merciful judge who dismissed my case.
I know another Merciful Judge, but this judge won’t dismiss my case. Instead, He has already paid the penalty for me. My day in court will soon come. I won’t physically be there, but my guilty record will be. Since I have thrown myself on the mercy of the One True Judge, my day in the heavenly court will go as follows:
Court Recorder: Next case is that of Perry F. Louden, Jr.
Prosecutor: Your Honor, Mr. Louden is guilty and all his sins that are recorded in the record books. I would like to note there are some 2700 pages of sins recorded with many repeated numerous times. The penalty is eternal death in the Lake of Fire.
Defense Attorney: Your Honor, The Prosecution failed to mention Mr. Louden’s name is written in the Book of Life. I paid His penalty on Calvary 2000 years ago.
Judge: This Court sides with the Defense Attorney. Mr. Louden’s case has passed from eternal death to everlasting life. Next case!
Clean Garments for the High Priest
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”
5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.
6 The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
8 “‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes[b] on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
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