I have lived under the assumption that The United States of America was a land of laws, but unfortunately, I don’t believe many Americans see it that way. Not everyone may be a thief, a murderer, or rapist but just about everyone breaks the law every single day.
The legal limit for the top speed to be driven in a vehicle is posted on signs along roads with labels between 25 MPH and 70 MPH, depending on what kind of road you are on. More frequently than not these laws are regarded as the suggested acceptable speeds, not as a law. Yes, people understand they may be pulled over and ticketed by state or city police officers for exceeding the posted speed limit but a ticket for most is a nominal punishment that does not deter breaking the law.
The punishment for breaking the law is beside my point. The very fact that just about every single person drives at least 5 MPH, if not 10 MPH or more over the posted speed limit says something about how people view laws. A threat of punishment for disobeying a law is motivation to obey the law and rightly so, but the point of law is not to establish punishments in order to deter people from acting a certain way.
Are not laws created for the good of everyone who obeys them? Why is it people do not think, “Well this is the law and so I will follow it” but instead think “Well this is the law but the consequences for not obeying it are not too bad, so I will take my chances”?
It is terrible that US citizens have become a people who do not see merit in obeying laws simply because they are the laws set up by the governing authority over you, but rather set up a cost-benefit analysis to determine its worth as a law.
Some of you may say, “But Ben, we are talking about a speed limit here. When I am driving and everyone else is going XX MPH there is no problem with following suit. Or when I am driving alone late at night, I am not going to hurt anyone by driving 100 MPH on a 70 MPH road. Plus, it will get me off the road faster. It’s not like I am committing some kind of crime.”
And to You I would say, shame on you. With all of the problems we are experiencing in our country that people want lawful solutions to and you continue to degrade the integrity of what a law is. More and more people are resorting to breaking the law, whether by explicitly terrible crimes or in small everyday decisions claiming the acceptance of potential consequences, instead of understanding that law is law, established for a reason and is to be obeyed.
We see children being raised by parents who set very little of an example of following the law. They never obey the speed limit, they sometimes wear a seat belt, they let their kids see them taking advantage of most any situation that will benefit them, they listen to music in the car or wherever that talks about “F#$@ the Law, F#*$ the police. Smoke more, drink more. Get girls, have more sex. Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life. Get yours.”
I thoroughly believe children are being raised to see no merit beyond escaping a potential punishment, for obeying the law. And in the end, the bigger picture is not about obeying the law for the sake of the law, it is much bigger: it is about the wellbeing of our society.
If you don’t think all these “small” instances of disobedience or disrespect for the law will or are having an effect on people in much more substantial ways, then you are foolishly mistaken. To believe that things can get better in more important and large areas of society without the smaller areas being dealt with responsibly, you are foolishly mistaken. If you think this disobedience to secular law does not affect how people view and obey the Bible, you are foolishly mistaken.
There was a reason the Israelites were constantly being given over to their sinful desires and being conquered and enslaved by other nations. They slipped into thinking the law could be disobeyed or totally disregarded because they didn’t fear the consequences compared to the perceived benefit at the time. Over and over and over again this happened and the law they were disobeying was not by secular leadership, but rather straight from God!
We know being obedient is difficult. It requires sacrifice and humility that many of us simply are not willing to strive for. But the consequences do not just affect you. They affect your children, your children’s children, and even the society at whole, as disobedient behavior is seen and replicated.
Deuteronomy 5:9 says, “for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.” Sin does affect sons and daughters, not because sin is inherited through genes, but rather because the sinful behavior of the father and mother are replicated by the children. God knows that those who disobey him specifically will be plagued with sin because of inherited behaviors for generations to come as it continues to be replicated.
I am not the judge.
I will not pretend to condemn people for disobeying or disregarding any man-made law. But you might consider what God has to say about being lawful.
1 Peter 2:13-17 says “13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
25 MPH means 25 MPH, and while it may only be a speed limit, next time you are driving you might consider obeying it, for you, your children, your children’s children, neighbors, and ultimately, God.