How Much Do We Have to Live The Law?


I was on jury duty a few months ago and sat on a jury of a young woman who was accused of causing an accident. She pleaded not guilty. The end result of this accident was a man was killed because of the accident. A young woman was driving down a busy four lane highway texting on her cell phone. The speed limit was 70 miles an hour. There was an intersection on this busy highway and a couple of middle aged people were waiting for the light to change green for them to turn left onto the four lane highway going the opposite direction the young woman was going.

The light turned green and this man pulled into the intersection to turn left and this young woman hit his car broadside in the left front door. The trial took a few days for all the evidence to be presented by both the prosecution and the defense.

I like Voltaire’s story of Memnon, who wanted to become perfect; so every day he made a promise and resolved this day I will be perfect. “This day I will never make a mistake or do anything wrong or unwise this day.” Well we all know what happened; he failed his promise and looked forward to another day.” His thoughts again; “We deceive ourselves in all our enterprises. That’s what we are made for, that’s our nature. Every morning I make good resolutions, and all day long I just make an ass of myself.” We all do similar things if we are trying to become better people. Just one mistake after another, one more resolve and another blunder. No one in this life is going to escape that. We are not going to escape it as long as we are in the flesh and bone, alive and breathing. Yes we are stuck here in a non perfect state trying to become better but failing every day to live better and be a better person.

We have laws to live by and none can live without breaking the laws. We must do our best not to break the more serious laws. But we won’t ever be perfect. What then justifies our existence? What justifies us continuing to make mistakes? The law is tailored to our own uses and our own weaknesses. God knows our weaknesses and the law or commandments are tailored to our weaknesses.

It comes down to your personal life and the way you have lived it. That is what this life is. We have two ways for us to go. The way we go is the path of two ways. One way leads to light and freedom and the other leads to darkness and despair. Who we are and what we become is up to each person. The path one follows will lead to light and freedom the other to darkness and bondage. The test is to see if we will continue trying to be perfect. Don’t give up on your goals and good desires. Perseverance and patience is the key to happiness.

Our earthly laws judge us on facts. If we are caught running a red light and get a ticket, we pay the fine. If we contest the law the judge will examine the law broken, judge between you and the police person and make a judgment. Well how then does this judgment work? A judge works on the basic idea of, you did it or didn’t do it. But he also takes into account any mitigating circumstances. Our judgment of oneself is based on what’s in the heart. Merely keeping the law is not enough. You and you alone know if you ran the light on purpose or if it was a mistake. Were you driving recklessly or trying to drive carefully? In the scriptures it is very clear. Early Christianity taught the doctrine of two ways very prominently. If you were in a hurry and ran the light on purpose you probably won’t tell the judge. You know you are guilty but want the judge to say not guilty. Now what and where is truth?

Truth is within the person who broke the law. A judge saying you are innocent doesn’t change the truth.

So this is the question. How much do we have to live the law? The law is called the way and if we stray from truth and walk a crooked path we lose sight of the way. You see, this is where we come in, we have to be able to accept this fact. Merely keeping the law isn’t going to do it. Putting up a front isn’t going to do it either. You broke two laws. One, you Ran the red light and the other you were not honest with others and yourself. We can keep the set terms and conditions and escape the sentences, etc.

A court can’t test your heart or anything like it and understand. No one really knows if a person is guilty based on evidence. People are mostly honest but who really knows but the person who broke the law. If this was not the first time you ever ran a red light, well that is evident you are not going to get away with it this time.

If you had a change of heart after the first time you ran a red light and made an effort to be careful and it wouldn’t happen again but whoops, it did happen, accidentally. Who knows you have had a change of heart? You might think you have changed but only He who makes judgment understands. We must live and understand that sorrow is not just tears but is a complete change with a broken heart and a contrite spirit that is the sign we have changed. No one wants their lives exposed. We all have made mistakes, what we did and how is not public information. But breaking man’s law is not as bad as breaking your promise you will do better, then trying to fool others and yourself, this not a sign you have changed.

Standing in a court and being judged is one thing but standing in front of the Lord is another. He can see into our hearts and our minds and knows all we have done. Think we can stand this or would we rather slip into hell. This life is to prepare us for the next life. Careers come and go and we rise and fall but our spirit continues on one or the other paths we take.

We have the rules for this life and we cannot achieve it all but we must follow the path that leads to light, not darkness. When we make mistakes we have to change our course and do the right thing. Always be honest with yourself and the path becomes easier. Live up to who and what you are and the change is a true change for good. Become the best person you can become.

No one can harm the man who does himself no harm.

Robert D. Ashford was a Marine during the cold war and is now retired, after 50 years of construction management. He is a keen genealogist and loves humor. He watches the political horizons and likes to write commentary on what’s next.