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About That Ninety-nine Dollars

 Even at jeopardy of being late for an important appointment  I refused to go above the posted  35 miles per hour speed limit.  I may not be as righteous to adhere to posted signs on other roads when I'm in a hurry. However this stretch of the Martin Luther King Highway descending into Renton always got my respect. At least it did, after that day in 1980, when to my chagrin I found myself being stopped by one of our friendly Officers of the Peace, otherwise known as a policemen. 

I was completely unaware that I was being followed by a police car as I had my mind on something else.. It wasn't until I noticed the flashing lights that I pulled over. I had been so intent on being on time for a meeting at First Baptist Church that everything else clouded my judgement and the speed limit. When the policeman asked me about my great hurry I explained I didn't want to be late for my meeting at the church. When he came back with my well-deserved ticket  he jovially said, "Just say the devil made me do it." - Which for those too young to know, this was a popular phrase from comedian Flip Wilson's character, Geraldine.

That ticket cost me ninety-nine dollars. Considering that our mortgage at the time was only ninety dollars it was a lot of money we could ill afford. That experience chastened me. Chasten is another word for discipline. I was chastened/disciplined on that road. Paying for the ticket was painful. I remember my late husband Winston saying I should go fight the ticket in court. I told him I did it and that I would pay the ticket.  Over thirty seven years later this morning I still felt very respectful of that road.

My parents have long since passed away. However I think of how they helped to discipline my spirit and helped me mold my responses to situations.  The true goal of discipline is not meant to harm it is meant to  help. The ticket I  received for speeding was meant to remind me that my actions could endanger me or someone else. I am fully convinced that one of the reasons we have people who have no compunction about killing or harming other people is that they were not chastened/disciplined  as children. This does not necessarily mean spankings. God's word, the Bible, tells us that foolishness is wrapped up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction drives it far away. So now we have a bunch of people who did not have the foolishness driven away as children so it's still bound in their heart. Now they have the strength to do all the foolishness that comes into their minds. Therefore we have a group of unhinged, no ethics people running around killing, robbing and terrorizing others.

As a society, if we have the resolve, we can turn things around. Adults need to take responsibility for their own actions. Parents need to parent with the end goal of rearing responsible adults. We are all in this together. I think some people will get stuck on the rod thing and declare this is all wrong. However if you've ever planted a garden you know that without discipline, or a stake of some kind of rod some plants never reach their potential. Those plants like Kentucky Wonders, a type of green bean, need something to cling to.  The rod acts as the support and steadying influence for the plant. Instead of thinking of a rod meaning beating, think of the rod as a parent or adult being the steadying influence in yours or another child's life. Even though I don't know that policeman's name he was a rod who chastened me that day and for that I thank him. There is no appointment worth having me be so unaware that I become a danger to myself or to others.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

  Hebrews 12:11


  1. I enjoyed reading your post. You made good points.


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