Bob_Anton_Narrow_RoadRiddles have always intrigued me. Lewis Caroll’s “How is a raven like a writing desk?” is one of my favorites. This month, I would like to pose a riddle to you. How are red light cameras like the Ten Commandments?
There are few things Long Islanders can agree to hate more than red light cameras. Those annoying one flash bandits, that in a blink of an eye rob us of our hard earned cash. And adding insult to injury they provide us with a picture of our car, our license plate and a mug shot just in case we thought we could argue our innocence.It’s no wonder that people complain so much about their use. Well, one of the most common complaints I hear about Christianity is ‘too many rules!’ And at the top of the list of rules are the Ten Commandments.
These are the ten ‘rules’ that people are most aware of, if not familiar with. An abridged version would look something like this: 1) I am the only true God. Don’t have any gods but Me. 2) Do not make or worship any idols. 3) Don’t use my name like a curse word. 4) Keep the Sabbath day as holy. 5) Honor your mother and father. 6) Do not commit murder 7) Do not commit adultery. 8) Don’t steal. 9) Do not be a false witness and lie. 10) Don’t covet anything that’s not yours.
So what’s the point of these rules? Well, hold on to your hats because I’m about to tell you something that you probably never heard in catechism or confirmation class. The purpose of the Ten Commandments, in fact the entire law of God, was not to show us how good we need to be, but to show us how bad we really are. The purpose of the Law is literally to convince us that we are law breakers. The Law of God is good and perfect because it comes from God Himself. Our inability to keep the Law only proves that we are weak and flawed creatures in desperate need of God’s mercy. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” Romans 3:19-20
Now someone will say; ‘I’m a good person. I don’t need mercy because I don’t break the commandments.’ I had a man tell me that once, while hanging out at Nathans during bike night. So I challenged him to carefully keep the Ten Commandments for one week. I reminded him that it’s not just in doing or failing to do, that we violate the commandments but even in contemplating a violation, we may be found guilty. He assured me that there would be no problem. When I saw him a week later, he sheepishly admitted that he had broken the code, even before he got home that night. He was amazed at how often he broke the commandments without even thinking. Again, the point of the Law is to show us that we are law breakers in desperate need of God’s mercy.

So let me answer the riddle. Red light cameras are like the Ten Commandments in that they point out to us what we are already doing wrong. Many of us have been running red lights for most of our lives. Since we didn’t get caught and we didn’t have an accident, we convinced or perhaps deceived ourselves into thinking that we weren’t doing anything wrong. But the camera (providing it’s timed properly) doesn’t lie. It catches us in our violation of the law and holds us accountable. The Law of God works much the same way and how we choose to respond is similar. We can admit our guilt, reform our ways and seek God’s mercy (which He is willing to provide through faith in Him) or we can continue to protest our innocence and go our own way. The choice is ours to make. You think about that.
God bless you and ……

See you on the road.
Bob Anton: Christian Motorcyclists Association
For more information on CMA or questions or comments concerning this column, please contact Bob Anton at 631-897-8122 or baftmny@aol.com