Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

I give up. I look for logic in our world but it seems to be in short supply.

Sigh. Yes, you read that last one correctly. Based on a similar program in Richmond, California, officials in Washington, D.C. recently voted to pay up to 200 people a year not to commit crimes. To qualify, a person has to be considered part of a high-risk group—either of committing crimes or being  a victim of a violent crime. The California program pays recipients up to $9,000. annually. The program is anticipated to cost almost five million dollars. Crime doesn’t pay? Not anymore!

I shouldn’t be surprised. Government agencies already pay farmers not to cultivate certain crops or not to raise sheep. So is paying criminals not to commit crimes any different?

I think so. When people have to be paid to obey the law, something is wrong. Then again, we already know something is wrong. In too many areas, our culture is broken.

We prefer magic-bullet solutions rather than committing to the hard work of change.

We seek instant gratification rather than being willing to wait for good things to come.

We want what we want, regardless of how it might affect others.

The result is a disregard for the law because people see the law as irrelevant.

You want me to obey the law? Make it worth my while—pay me!

Before we point fingers at drug dealers, thieves, and other unsavory characters, perhaps we should look a little closer to home.

Ever driven above the speed limit, rationalizing that you’re within 5 miles of the limit?

I have.

Ever park illegally, rationalizing that you’ll “only be a moment”?

I have.

Ever give a friend or family member your prescription medication instead of encouraging them to go to the doctor?

I have.

We’ve broken the law.

Even though the crimes may not be on the same level as murder, they’re still crimes. And even though we differentiate between levels of crimes, a holy God doesn’t see it that way.

Crime is crime and sin is sin. No sin can stand before a holy God, and all the rationalizations and justifications in the world won’t change that. Thankfully, God provided an out for us. Because of Jesus Christ, we can stand before God, our sins forgiven and exchanged for Christ’s holiness.

We all have black hearts and a disregard for the law. By the grace of God, we’ve been declared not guilty. We don’t have to be paid to obey the law. God puts His Spirit in us to enable us to want to please Him and gives us the ability to do it.

I’m a criminal who’s grateful for the free pass.

How about you?

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  1. Jane Roach

    Thanks again, Ava, for your clear words and sobering commentary on our culture and our own lives.

  2. AvaPennington

    Thank you, Jane. I had a good teacher!

  3. VickiSibert

    InAva, right on as always from Alabama, we are all guilty……..
    As sin. The only answer is the cross!

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