Earlier this week I heard a story of a friend who, because of a huge mistake, was arrested. She had, years ago, received a traffic ticket, taken the appropriate steps to resolve the issue and went on with life. Through a quirky incident recently, she found out that she had a warrant issued for her arrest for this ticket that she had taken care of years ago. And was told if she didn’t turn herself in, she’d be arrested. After much consideration, she turned herself in prepared to pay fines for a second time.
Upon turning herself in, she was actually arrested and went through the entire process of being booked and processed into jail. She was then immediately released to pay the fine and began the process of trying to clear up the mess and get her money back.
It’s a situation that you or I would never want to find ourselves in. Yet in a lot of ways, we live that way. We make a mistake, pay the consequence, work to make it right, seek God’s forgiveness and move on. Then out of nowhere, some hiccup, some glitch, some reminder comes along and we’re arrested by a past mistake. We’re taken prisoner by a long ago forgiven transgression. We walk through a process of guilt and self-defeat, when the fine, the penalty was paid long ago.
Guilt, self-doubt, the struggle to forgive ourselves…they are all things that the enemy uses (and uses well) to derail us. To put us in our own personal jail cell. My friend couldn’t help but go through that painful process of arrest for a fine that she already paid. But the price Christ paid on the cross frees us from the arrest, the confinement of past mistakes. Once we’ve sought forgiveness and faced what consequences may come from a mistake, we have the freedom to live without arrest. We have the freedom to simply say this fine has been paid and never be arrested for a past mistake again.