With all the drama in the State Capture Commission, the arrests this past week of top level politicians for corruption and the battles being played out in political parties, one often overlooks other news items that seem to be drowned out or blurred from sight. Over this weekend, five motorists were caught traveling between 164 and 172 kph. On Saturday, a man in a VW Polo was caught for 174 kph in Alberton. This morning at 6.50am, a 26 year old man was caught in Bedfordview traveling 179 kph in his VW Polo. Before he was handcuffed, he said he was late for work. All of them were charged with reckless and negligent driving.
In chatting to our son Edwin via zoom tonight, he reflected upon their holiday in Phoenix, Arizona, last week, saying they were traveling there with cars zooming past them … and they were doing seventeen kph (10%) over the limit. They use the mile measurement, whilst we use the kilometer. He said that some roads, like ours, have different speeds, like 65 mph (104 kph), 70 mph (116 kph) and 75 mph (120 kph).
Most speeding tickets in a suburban area start from 10 kph over the limit of 60 kph. I have been caught in the suburbs a few times and a few times going through small towns on the National Road where speed signs are not very visible … but doing 160 to 180 plus on the highway is plain crazy! We live in Africa where animals roam across the highways … and people cross busy highways, zig zagging through the traffic. No one traveling at those high speeds will be able to stop should an animal or a person cross the highway in their path! They will either swerve to avoid the animal or person and hit another vehicle or tree or roll and land up in the bush … or they will hit the animal or person. In both cases, the driver, animal, person and other drivers could be killed.
So many deaths and serious injuries (people being paralyzed, brain damage, loss of limb, wheel chair bound, widowed, orphaned, etc.) have occurred in the past and because of our terrible record in the country for speeding, and continue, even though the law states traveling above the speed limit (60, 70, 80, 100 or 120 kph depending on the area/road) is an offense. It is almost the case … “laws are made to be broken.”
Years ago, someone told me that many people budget an extra R2000 for their holiday to cover the speed fines. But is budgeting for speeding right? Is it right for us Christians to speed … that is, travel above the speed limit? The county’s laws state this is an offense … even a criminal offense. Well, what does God’s Law say about this? We will not find anything about speeding in the Bible, but there are principles the Bible has for us to follow!
When Jesus was asked whether it was right for the Jews to pay taxes to Rome, He responded by saying, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21). Call this the double “T”. Jesus shocked them with a double whammy! Yes, pay taxes to Rome and pay taxes (tithes) to God. The principle flowing from this is that where there are legal laws, God’s people submit, obey and follow the rules of the country. Look at another passage:
Ro 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
We cannot argue that Paul was only referring to “taxes or revenue” because he added “respect and honour”. Again, legal laws are put into place to protect society. They are there for the benefit of all citizens, including the speedsters. They are there to control!
Although this note is about a Christian’s response and attitude towards personally travelling over the speed limit, it covers breaking all laws of the country. Each time you break the law, whether you are caught or not, God sees you broke the law of the authorities He put in place. How is it possible to want to practice holiness and blamelessness when you knowingly and willingly break the laws of the state? Now, add to this getting caught and fined and purposely not paying the fine. In most cases, the long arm of the law will catch you. Money might be able to pay fines and clear your name … but willful disobedience to the laws of the state remain sin against God.
And get this … you can’t say “everyone is doing it, so why can’t I”? The reason you can’t is because you are Christian. Before you get into that car, you are Christian. When you are driving, you are Christian. When you get out of the car, you are Christian. That is why you can’t do what everyone else is doing. Like I said, Romans 13:1 cuts across all laws within the country, whether you like the laws or not. You have heard the saying, “He is economical with the truth.” Well, we cannot be economical with the laws of the state. God expects–in fact, requires–His people to set a better and higher example to the pagan world where we Christians go out of our way to obey the laws of the state because obeying these laws is obeying God. Holiness and blamelessness is reflected in day to day living as Kingdom people in this decaying world. We shine as lights for Jesus when we do.
Dear God, forgive me for disobeying the states laws so often. Please help me to model the Lord Jesus. Amen.