So last night I had an encounter with the Police. It wasn’t pleasant and I’m £60 poorer and got a bonus of 3 penalty points on my license. Thinking back about it its amazing the amount of self-justifying I’ve been doing to make it out that I’m not a criminal and didn’t really deserve it and others are worse. It was wet, there were a set of traffic lights ahead, I was thinking ‘I’m almost out of petrol, hope i make it to the garage’ (the arrow was hovering on the empty edge of red) and just noticed the lights were amber, but (foolishly) thought, sure don’t know if i’ll be able to stop, i can squeeze through. First mistake.
Then a minute later, blue flashing lights in the mirror – ‘oh crap’.
I did think ‘well the lights were just changing, should have stopped, it’ll be ok’. Second mistake
After the chat about what happened, the ‘officer’ asked how long I’d had my license, if i had any penalty points, on my ‘no’ he responded – “that’s all right then, I’m going to give you 3 for failing to stop at a red light”. I thought it was pretty harsh, no warning or ‘well make sure it doesn’t happen again’ but bamm, straight in there with points. Bank balance, next years insurance and pride all going ‘ouch’. I also wondered if i had points would he have then not given me any? Or if I had been female…
Then to rub salt in as I was filling up having reached the garage, weren’t there some boy racers wheel spinning, burning rubber, and speeding off into the distance. I’ll bet they didn’t get any points last night. Bandits.
Of course I was wrong, should have been paying more attention, should have stopped, can’t really complain (although memories of friends getting a slap on the wrist for doing double the speed limit keep filling my head). It is shocking just how much I tried to justify and excuse myself. The black and white of it was that I was in the wrong and deserved it, but boy racers as a case in point, I felt the need to compare myself and make sure that even if I’d done wrong – there were others who were worse than me.
Made me pretty grateful how graciously God treats me – not the way I deserve, or don’t deserve as the case may be, that he is the God of the second chance, who is incredibly patient with his stumbling constantly getting it wrong children, not treating us harshly…