So why do I feel anxious when passing through electronic detectors at retail stores? I know I didn’t steal anything. I was never even tempted. It’s worse when I haven’t purchased anything. I imagine the clerks think I just picked up something and didn’t bother going to the checkout. I hold my breath as I pass through and only start breathing again once safely on the other side. I imagine having the alarms going off and being descended upon by a SWAT team. Am I mentally ill with a built-in neurotic sense of guilt?
I can only imagine what it would be like showing up before the judgment bar of God. He can read my mind! Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that we are guilty even if we think about wrong. “I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Ouch. Can I please have some extra mercy because of what I thought about that guy who passed me, cut in and slowed down?
Actually the idea of “extra mercy” is redundant and ridiculous. Mercy is mercy. It is adequate all by itself. Nobody needs extra. Not even Hitler. Paul wrote, “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Sometimes this concept overwhelms me with its all encompassing scope. I am tempted to think, “This is just too good to be true.” That’s why the story is called the Gospel. It is Good News. No. It’s the Best News. So let us go boldly through the electronic detectors.
Written by Roger Bothwell on May 9, 2016
P.O. Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574