How Do You Plead?

What should I do? I had a choice to make along with about 30 others that wrapped around the inside of the courtroom. You see, after being given a ticket for driving too fast in a school zone, friends said that I could get my fine lowered if I just showed up for my court date. Well, that wasn’t altogether true.

I tried. I showed up. I even waved and smiled at the dutiful officer as I got in line. Most of us smiled sheepishly at one another as guilt and shame seemed to fill the air. I watched nervously as one by one the judge asked, “How do you plead?” “Guilty, your Honor,” was repeated one after the other. And every single one was shown mercy.

Nothing is ever that easy for me. I was convinced I could explain and justify myself. “How do you plead?” the judge asked. “Well, I don’t know if I was speeding. I didn’t seem to be going fast,” I replied. “How do you plead?,” he forcefully interrupted. “I didn’t see my speedometer so I don’t know if I was speeding or not.” I shrugged. Deep down, I didn’t trust the officer’s judgment in the matter. Exasperated, the judge pronounced, “Guilty!” He pounded the gavel on the large desk and announced my huge penalty.

The people in the courtroom looked on in shock. I lowered my head in shame over my dumb move. Why not trust the officer? Why not be shown mercy? I wanted to trust; I wanted to be shown mercy, but my pride was too great.

All of us are guilty as charged.

We all have broken the Law, God’s Law (His Commandments), for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 ESV).

Just as the speed limit sign was there to prove I violated it, so it is with God’s Law. Jesus recites the first and greatest commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37: Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” No one, except Jesus, has done this or can do this 100 percent of the time. We all have sinned. 

James 2:10 tells us if we fail to obey only one command we are guilty of breaking them all.

Our inability to keep God’s commandments leads us to the Savior, Jesus Christ. Only He fulfills the Law to perfection, and the only way for us to become perfect is through Him. So the law was put in charge until Christ came. He came so that we might be made right with God by believing in Christ (Galatians 3:24 NIRV).

We must admit our guilt to God. We must trust Christ’s judgement of us. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (I John 1:10 ESV).

My speeding penalty was paid with money to the court, but Romans 6:23 states that the penalty of sin is death (complete separation from God for all eternity), but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus took the punishment we deserved and paid our debt in full on the cross.

Place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, believing in His death, burial, and resurrection. Don’t allow your pride to get in the way, because when you stand before the Judge, you don’t want to be like I was in the courtroom hanging my head and thinking, “That was a dumb move.”

Originally published in 2013.



describes herself as a bohemian child of God, wife, and decorator.


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