A Short Story About Double Jeopardy

“Never ask the advice of another about anything God makes you decide before Him. If you ask advice, you will nearly always side with Satan:  Jan 30 Utmost For My Highest

I had an interesting situation happen recently within our Home Owners Association as the Co-Chair of the Architectural Control Committee (ACC). It consumed my thoughts and I was afraid to make a wrong decision.  In addition, I felt I was being pressured to enforce a rule which I disagreed with.  As I look back and reflect on the story, it is clear that God showed me how to apply a simple Torah Law against this issue using the key component in all of this; Love. It further exposed how I sway to other opinions instead of holding to my resolve in the wake of the truth.

When love is applied everything is settled and no argument exists unless you are an enemy of God.

There was a story in the book, Restoration- Returning the Torah of God to the Disciples of Jesus by D. Thomas Lancaster that I did not comment on in my last article.  However that story made such an impression, I could not let go of it.

(I paraphrase) It is the story of the woman caught in adultery.  The scribes and Pharisees brought her before Him and asked what He should do.  We all know in John 8:11 that He said, “I do not condemn you.”  However, the Torah demands that you should be stoned for such an act.  But if Jesus went against the Torah, then He sinned and how could he have redeemed us?  Some teach that Jesus set aside the law of punishment and wrath in favor of love and mercy and under the new law of love she is absolved.  But Jesus said He fulfilled the law not abolish it.  The scribes said to Him that the Law commands them to stone her, the same Law handed down from God to Moses and used this to try and trap Him.

He was caught on the fence so we think, and we all know that Love wins.   If He answers, stone her, he breaks the Roman law that forbad the Jewish community from killing anyone.  The same law Pilate enforced for Jewish leaders so Jesus could be crucified.  If he absolves her then they can accuse Him of lawlessness and an act of transgression. They could even go as far as saying he sanctioned adultery. No matter which way He goes they got Him.

So here I am, having to support a policy I do not like.  The issue is that if you have a basketball goal, you must have an ACC approval for it to be out during daylight hours.  The fine is $250 dollars for an unapproved goal out on the street.   Driving down the road looking at roof colors I almost hit one that was left in the street.  As it turns out some kids, pulled it out of a yard, from their neighbors who were on vacation.  We sent a letter, saying please comply and a goal request came in.

Now this might have been the end of it, however, the ranking board member said we have an outstanding issue that needs to be dealt with.  We should assess the $250 fine.  I said no, he said yes. My co-chair at first said yes.  I was, caught it seemed, between the law and the truth/facts.  I prayed for guidance; I know now that I was trying to answer my own prayer.  So I came up with a way to satisfy both sides of the issue.   We would assess the fine, but suspend it due to mitigating circumstances, stating that if any further violation occurred the original fine would be assessed.  I just could not assess a fine when the homeowner was out of town and had no control over the situation; plus the letter was sent to home of the children left it out, with the initial understanding was their goal and not borrowed.

In my mind, I satisfied the law, we saved face, let’s move on. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring that out.   But then who was I impressing, man or God.

BUT NO!!!!! Again I was rebuffed. “We must stand firm or we will lose all credibility.” the responding email said.

The next morning, I still needed to find the answer to this issue.  I then thought, “Hey let’s see what was written in the violation letter.” Depending on the wording, this issue might already be solved and I can wash my hands of it.

By mid-morning we finally saw the copy of the violation letter that was sent.  It said there was a violation and the issue will need to be resolved within 30 days; Please submit a basketball goal request.  My Co-chair and I  came down on the side of lessoned learned, if a fine was to be assessed, it should have been at that time.  Case closed!

Again, I thought I was home free, until the board member came back said, “You should reconsider;  This is the policy.  It doesn’t matter if someone was on vacation at the time of the violation, or the goals belongs to someone else, the fine must be assessed.”  It was unclear who actually owned the goal in question.  All I knew is that I almost ran over it.  “Just assess a fine to one of the families,” he said.  “If it is wrong let the neighbors work it out.”

I was dumbfounded.  Our job isn’t to create disharmony or even encourage it.  In my opinion, this would only cause more strife.  While there is a need for guidelines, one must contemplate not only the letter, but also the intent of the law.

God’s Laws are meant keep us safe from ourselves and should not be used to prove who is more worthy or righteous. I believe the same should apply here. I was exactly where Jesus was. The same but different.

I was furious and called the email’s author.  I made sure I followed my three rules when engaging in conversation; (1) everything was true, (2) my attitude was kind and (3) all words spoken are necessary.  As our conversation continued, I said I wasn’t going to pull out my Sherlock Holmes cap and magnifying glass try to figure who is actually responsible and outside of the mitigating circumstances the fact of the matter was; A reprimand letter was already sent to the home the goal was in front of.  Why would I go back and retrace our steps, it sounded counterproductive?

He said that I should not look at it as an individual case to decide one way or another which way to rule.  We should not even try to get to know our neighbors, because if we do then the human factor with surely be weighed.  The rule was violated; assess the fine.  I did not agree with policy, but put that aside, I was paralyzed!  Every argument was viable and I felt responsible to make the final decision.  The board member expressed his eventual disappointment if I ruled against him.  My Co-chair had her opinions and although we agreed on this point, holistically I felt alone.  A feeling I experienced throughout my  childhood and early adulthood when faced with a dilemma of conscience.

I felt the world on my shoulders, and I knew without a shadow of doubt, this was a moment in time for me.

On top of that, I had used good old fashion face to face conversations and a hand shake, to solve other issues in the neighborhood, that could have gone to court.  So to remove the human factor, doesn’t seem to me to the way God would want it.

I said I would sleep on it and said, “Good night.”

It was easy to see that, I wasn’t trying to uphold any law or rule.  I was trying to win my argument among men.  I tried to find a position everyone would agree with and no would be disappointed with my eventual decision. (Where have I heard that before)

So there was Jesus, an adulteress in front of Him, I am sure she was pleading for her life in some manner.  A clutch of men saying she should be stoned. Compassion in His heart and everyone looking to Him for answer, so they could tear down the man who lived the Truth, that threatened their existence. Each direction a road to strife.

It is now the following morning, after a sleepless night wanting to do the right thing.  I have a homeowners association issue that should be slam dunk, fine them $250. I am trying to stand firm in my resolve for my reasons and not assess the fine.  I am afraid of having someone angry at me and I end up punishing myself for my indecision.

Not my indecision, my inability to say NO to a belief contrary to my own and fear of rejection. How many of us:

  • Don’t say NO, when the risk is high;
  • Can’t say NO even to the little things, like a $250 fine; or
  • Will have the resolve to stand on the Truth, saying enough is enough when it counts in the eyes of God?

Many of us still turn a blind eye to perverse morality issues and say there is nothing we can do about it; The law says…….

Then Jesus says, “For those who have not sinned, cast the first stone.”  One by one each man leaves and when Jesus looks up no one is left to condemn her, neither does Jesus.  You see in formal, temple court proceeding an allegation must be established by two eye witnesses. It was a legal loophole placed in the law.  If there are not two witnesses the case must be dropped.  Well in this case, Jesus fulfilled the law. Since there were no reliable witnesses, God’s law could not be carried out.  Jesus asked each man to be a witness to their own life before they were a witness to the adulteress.  When that mirror is held and we look back we all see the sin in our lives.  This proves that God does not condemn a repentant heart. Any man who would have stayed there would have been subject to judgement and surely an enemy of God.

Satan is the accuser, if you seek the counsel of men, in place of God, that is false obedience.  If Jesus would have sided with anything but the Torah out of love, strife would have followed.  You see when Jesus asked them to look at themselves, it was out of love not shame, not much is said about the adulteress, but I will bet that she had a repentant heart that was visible to all that were there.  She was a ruse to trap Jesus, but Jesus would not be used in this manner and would not let a women die to prove a point.  If anything died that day, I hope it was everyone’s old self, reborn in the Truth in Christ.

Remember when Love is applied, everything is settled!  And those men knew the truth at that moment and it was settled.  Since no one was there to condemn her, Jesus said, “I will not condemn you either.”

As my wife and I shared communion that morning, I asked God to provide me the answer I needed to stand firm with.  The picture of this story flashed crossed in my mind. To which I wrote the following response:

Removing all mitigating circumstances that have been discussed since they do not apply. My Co-chair and I see it that as the letter was already sent out to the resident. It would be a case of double jeopardy. I am not going to pursue this matter any further.  I understand your point and I appreciate our call last night.  We will agree to disagree.  If you feel you must assess the fine, then you have that right as a board member to pursue that action.  

I said, NO! It is not up for any more negotiation.

Prior to contacting the email’s author, I had  called other members of the committee, and flew a trial balloon, once again seeking consensus. I had hoped everyone would agree with me, then I wouldn’t have to stand firm on my own conviction.

Being Holy unto God is not a perfect path, but my love for the Father held firm in the end.  Every other path led to confusion and potential tyranny.  Once I looked to God and my recent study of this small portion of Christ’s following the Law in the New Testament, did I find solace in Word.

Jesus saved us from sin and we should not place ourselves in a position where we allow double jeopardy to re-convict us for our sins, that have already been forgiven and the price already paid.

The basketball goal policy is still a point of contention that will not die and everyone has something to say about it.  However, for this homeowner, I finally stood for what I believed in, trusting in God. Even though I almost ran over the goal post placed in the road,  I did run right into God,  I dribbled the ball around the court, tired a couple head fakes, saw my shot, and went for three.  Nothing but net.

P.S.  Since I wrote this, I petitioned the committee to reconsider the policy, because my “HEART” was not into assessing a fine of that magnitude.  We revised the policy, added grace to it, we all agreed AND…… LOVE SETTLED THE ISSUE.

Now that’s a triple double!!!!!

Love you all and there is nothing you can do about it.

2 thoughts on “A Short Story About Double Jeopardy

  1. Hey Bro, Thanks for being a risk taker! If we compromise our belief to go with the crowd , I believe we made a bad trade. The truth is, going with the flow, usually means being politically correct. Like you, I want to be on the side of “how did Jesus react and how did He respond”. Two spirits at work here…the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Our choice on which spirit we trade with! “Double” blessings and love, Fred

    Like

  2. What a great piece. Truly inspirational. Good for you for standing on your principles. May God continue to bless you and keep that fire in your belly!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s