We live in a townhouse community that is well-maintained.  We like it here, enjoy the amenities and appreciate how well-kept it is.  One of the rules in the community is that there is no street parking.  Everyone has their own garage and driveway, and there are a number of guest parking spots throughout, but you cannot park beside the sidewalk.

When we just had the 1 car, this was never an issue. But with 2 cars, we don’t quite fit.  Our garage is half filled with storage (that in itself is a funny trend these days, maybe worthy of its own post), so both cars need to go in the driveway.  They kinda fit, but Pablo’s car hangs into the street a little.  So he usually parks down a few houses, in the guest parking section.

Well, last weekend he came home from work around 10pm, and all the guest spots were taken.  He leaves in the morning at 5am, so for those 7 hours when most of the world is asleep anyway, he left the car beside the sidewalk.  I’m sure you can guess what happened.

In the morning, no car…it was towed.

When he came back in to tell me, and to let me know that he would be taking the other car, I immediately began defending and justifying his actions, chalking it up to ‘being unfair.’

You see, our neighbors are CONSTANTLY parking in the street.  It drives me nuts!  On both sides.  I go out for a walk with the kids, and I’m surrounded by cars and trucks.  And this, even when their driveways have room, and multiple guest spots are available.  I don’t know exactly what I find so frustrating about it, but in part it’s that they were breaking the rules and getting away with it. (or so I thought)

So when Pablo’s car got towed, late a night (who really noticed!?) when there were no extra spots, it was unfair, right?

I tried to keep my thoughts to myself, as we did break the rules (even though it was unfair) because I didn’t want to create in Abigail a disregard or disrespect for rules.

We got in touch with the tow company, and spoke to him about recovering our car.  I asked him about how often he tows in our community.  I have never seen a tow truck come through in the 5+ months we’ve lived here.  And my neighbors had never been towed, and they really deserved it. This man was kind enough (I’d be kind too if I was about to get $185) and told me that they do come through at random times, and also respond to calls about parking.  He had received a number of calls that night and towed a number of vehicles.  He also informed me that my neighbors had been towed recently, two different neighbors.  This made me feel better.

But as I reflected on this I realized how I had been trying to justify myself based upon being ‘not as bad’ as my neighbors.  They were ‘more deserving’ of being towed than we were.  I spend half the morning fuming over the injustice, but realize there was no injustice.  We broke the rule, and we were caught.  Just because my neighbors got away with it more often, doesn’t take away my offense.

What a parallel to the way the world looks at sin, the way I used to look at sin.  When confronted with my violations of God’s Holy Law.  I turned and looked at my neighbor, and trying to justify myself, said, ‘but I’m not as bad as her.’  And, ‘she really deserves to be punished, she does this and that, I only do these ‘little’ things.’

What I was reminded of over the weekend was that I will stand before God, alone.  There is no sliding scale.  He does not grade on a curve.  He will hold out his standards, and it is strictly a pass/fail scenario – and one wrong answer, one ‘little’ sin results in a failing grade.  God will not care if I was better than that other sinner, because He hates any and all sin.  He will not look upon what I find to be a smaller sin with joy, because it’s not a severe as that BIG sin over there.  No, I will be judged for what I have done and have not done.

The difference here is that in God’s economy, there is forgiveness.

You see, I’m sure there are some folks in our little community here that have followed this rule, and have refrained from parking in the street.  But all of us have broken God’s laws.  We parked in the street, and left $185 poorer.  There would be no forgiveness of that debt, unless someone paid that debt for us.

I have broken God’s laws, have you?  Have you lied?  Stolen anything, regardless of its value?  Lusted after someone?  Harbored hate in your heart? (God equates that with murder).

And while I should rightfully receive His ‘fine’, His punishment, someone has paid that debt for me.

You can know who that was, and how to receive that forgiveness too.  I would love to hear about it if you do!!