There are dozens of them in our small community. You'll find them at most moderately busy intersections. A toddler can identify them and tell you what they mean. They're red in color with four white letters. That's right, I'm talking about stop signs! If a driver disregards a stop sign by failing to come to a complete stop before proceeding into the intersection, he is breaking the law and can be fined. For those who desire to do the right thing, the law is not difficult to understand or obey when it comes to stop signs (the federal tax code is another matter entirely, but I digress).
I've seen the following 13 points regarding stop signs a couple times before, though I am not aware of the original author. How do you think any of these excuses would work before a courtroom judge?
The sign said: "STOP." I didn't. So I said to the judge...
- "I think every person has the right to choose his own interpretation of this word."
- "My mother did not believe in stopping. If I were to stop, I would be condemning her."
- "No one in my family stops. It's good enough for them, so it's good enough for me."
- "I have gone so long without stopping. I don't think I can start now."
- "My preacher says I don't have to stop."
- "My parents made me stop when I was young, so I don't do it now."
- "What about those who have never seen the sign?"
- "I believe only going is essential. Stopping is optional."
- "How do you know the word means today what it did when it was first written?"
- "I'll stop after I get my life straightened out."
- "I'll stop when my wife decides to stop. It would mean so much more if we did it together."
- "It's nobody's business whether or not I stop."
- "I feel that as long as one is sincere, your honor, you will accept us no matter what we do."
Obviously, none of these excuses would work before a civil judge, so why do humans often resort to this sort of "reasoning" when it comes to spiritual matters? I've had people use similar excuses when I, with the Scriptures, exhort them about church attendance, leaving a church they grew up in that does not teach the truth, ceasing some immoral activity, obeying the gospel plan of salvation, etc.
People often don't realize how ridiculous they sound offering up some of these pitiful excuses to me. For example:
- "I've gone so long without going to church. I don't think I can start now" (cf. Heb. 10:24,25).
- "My parents made me go to church when I was young, so I don't do it now" (cf. Matt. 6:33)
- "My mother did not believe in being baptized for the remission of sins. If I were to be immersed in water, I would be condemning her" (cf. Acts 2:38).
- "It's nobody's business whether I smoke or not" (cf. I Cor. 6:19,10).
- "I'll become a Christian when my wife decides to become one. It would mean so much more if we did it together" (cf. Matt. 19:29).
- "As long as I am sincere God will accept me no matter what I do" (cf. Matt. 7:21-23).
Friends, I can't help but wonder, will they utter the same words come Judgment Day before Almighty God?
We know enough to obey S-T-O-P and avoid fines. We ought to know enough to obey God's word in whatever avenues it instructs us! "Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (II Cor. 5:9,10).