I recently received a notice from a law office requesting payment for a violation at an EZ Pass toll.
My first reaction was, “Uh-oh, I’m in trouble!” After giving it some thought, I couldn’t remember driving through the wrong lane at a toll booth. I have the EZ Pass transponder on my windshield. I drive through the EZ Pass toll booth. They bill me. I pay the bill. Everyone’s happy.
As I was calling the law office for more details, I briefly thought, “This is going to be a hassle. I don’t have time for this. Maybe l should just pay it. How much can it be?”
According to the woman whose name was on the letter, three notices had been sent before the ticket was sent to them for collection. Whatever the original ticket had been, the total was now $61.00!
Now my thoughts were, “I’m not paying that! Unless it’s definitely mine. It better not be mine. I need more details.” So I asked for more details and was informed that the violation occurred at 21:00 hours. “Doesn’t help.” It was at toll booth #6. “Nothing.” It was near Pittsburgh. “Uh-oh. I have family in Pittsburgh. Maybe this is mine.” Date of the violation: January 15, 2016. “Wait a minute. I was not stationed here in January. That car was not assigned to me at the time of the violation. It’s not my ticket!”
I breathed a huge sigh of relief and returned the notice. “Sorry. This is not mine. You’ll have to figure out who this car was assigned to back in January.”
As I was walking back to my office I felt a burden lifted from my shoulders. The ticket was not mine. I would not have to pay for it. I was not in trouble.
Then it occurred to me. That’s kind of like when Jesus forgave me of my sins. I was in big trouble and there would be a high price to pay. But then Jesus paid the price for me. I was off the hook! I was not guilty (any more).
In the case of the ticket, I hadn’t been guilty and therefore I didn’t have to pay the fine. But in the case of sin, I WAS guilty, yet Jesus paid the price for me anyway. His Word tells us in Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For that I am eternally grateful.