I recently was asked to help with a ministry to a handicapped group at a local school. I had done this before, so I thought I knew where to go and where to park. Due to circumstances beyond my control (or so we like to say!), I was running late, so I drove to the spot where I used to park and then ran up to the room to meet the others.
At the end of the event, I headed to the parking lot with a jittery heart. Alas, my worst fears were justified: I had a parking ticket! There wasn’t much I could say, because I had a feeling it was coming. You see, I had parked in a space reserved for—you guessed it—the handicapped!
The familiar spaces that were normally reserved for visitors had been changed to handicapped parking only. Had I not been running late, I would’ve driven to the other side of the property and parked in an open space. But, sinner that I am, although saved by grace, I broke the law, and violated my own conscience. People parking in handicapped spaces without justification make me very angry.
When I realized that I was in the space, I fought hard to justify myself. “Well, Lord, it’s Saturday and there’s no one else here,” I prayed. “Besides, I’m here to help the blind, so surely You will overlook this minor infraction and not penalize me! And, it’s better than being late and holding up the others.”
Well, I learned that not all prayers are answered the way we like them to be. I also learned that I can rationalize almost anything under pressure. Did I mention that I thought of ways to weasel my way out of the $25 fine? I thought of bringing my mother’s extra handicap hanger to security and just telling them that I forgot to put it up. I also thought of keeping it in my car for times like this!
Another sad irony is that my license plate says GODSEEZ. It’s supposed to be a witness. I wonder what the officer thought when it he wrote it on the ticket!
In 2 Samuel 12, when Nathan the prophet confronted David with his sin with Bathsheba, David offered no excuses. He merely said, “I have sinned against the LORD” (v. 13). And Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin.” No excuses, no explanations. Just confession. David had no excuses. He didn’t need Bathsheba. He had plenty of other wives; I had plenty of other spaces. He shouldn’t have been walking the roof of the palace when his men were at war; I shouldn’t have been dallying when I had an appointment. There is no excuse for breaking the law.
Ironically, David took a forbidden thing that he didn’t need. And, to cover up, he killed Uriah, a soldier of Israel who’s life he should have protected. I deprived the very people I came to help by taking the handicap space. Sin doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
The worst part of David’s sin is found in verse 14: “But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.” David’s sin, though private (or so he thought), brought reproach upon the Name of the LORD. What might the officer have thought of one who professes to worship God and flagrantly breaks the law? What does the world think of people who zip down the road well over the speed limit while sporting a plastic fish on the trunk or a “Jesus Loves You!” bumper sticker? We can so often be “blind” to our sins. “Lord, open our eyes that we may see.”
Read more articles by Alan Allegra or search for articles on the same topic or others.