Why Good People Go To Jail

Good people wake up good. We wake up happy and optimistic. We don’t fret when we realize we are out of toothpaste, we simply go to our travel bag and utilize what’s in there as we make a mental note to replace both. We barely frown when we burn our eggs. And so what if our socks don’t match? We will rule the day!

We wake up good and we are still good when we are an hour early to get within three miles of our meeting. That is why we are good enough to text everyone at the office that we will get coffee. That’s what I did.

I also allotted plenty of time to get gas. I’m responsible. I don’t pay at the pump because some people are not good and I’ve been warned. So, I go inside and wait patiently for my time to prepay. I return to the car to find that the pump is not working. I go to tell the clerk but must wait in line to do so. He pushes a button and assures me it’s fixed. I return to my car. It isn’t. I return inside the store, wait behind four people and he tells me the pump does not work. All the others are occupied.

This is where good people begin to go bad. I say thank you but snarl in my head. I invent adjectives that would make men in the auto-parts business blush under my breath as I drive away. I will grab coffee and then get gas. However, as I pull out of the gas station my gas light comes on. Not the warning light that lets you know you have 20 miles left but the one that reminds you that you are basically poo if you don’t get gas immediately.

No longer even willing to entertain the thought that I am ‘good,’ I surrender and humble myself as I pull back into the same gas station only to wait not so patiently behind another vehicle to get gas. I pay at the pump because all of my ‘good’ instincts have been exhausted. Clearly, I am on the verge of making some very bad choices.

With my car now running I get to the coffee house only to find that the line extends well into the street. I can go to the one on the other road. No, I can’t. It’s 5 miles away and I will certainly be late for the same meeting that I was an hour early for just a moment ago. I order ahead at a less desirable coffee place just minutes from the office.

When I arrive, I am the third car in line. I begin to think everything is okay until I sit there for 10 minutes without moving. Just as I’m about to give up and back out of line another car pulls in behind me. Now I am stuck. When I finally get the coffee, I realize that my car, which I purchased brand new last year only has two cup holders and I have four cups full of bad coffee.

I breathe a sigh of relief as I pull in to my meeting with 4 minutes to spare and not a drop of spilled coffee. I think all is good until I walk in just in time to see my very good friend pouring a cup of regular coffee into his office cup. At which point I snarl, “If you so much as take a drink of that crappy coffee after I went through so much trouble to get you this crappy coffee, I swear I will never forgive you!” And that is why good people go to jail … obviously not literally.

Frustrating mornings are going to happen especially if you’re busy. Even good people are not exempt from the little things that add up to make a good person do bad things, use bad words, and snarl at people we care about. Beyond bad mornings, hurtful and overwhelming circumstances are going to add up too. We begin to question our existence as homes, careers, health, and families are being threatened.

It truly can be too much … for us. It seems like bad news seldom happens as isolated events. I remember my high school teacher, Mr. Robert Parent telling me, “If bad things happen in bunches, good things certainly will too.” I remind myself of his words often as they have been confirmed repeatedly in my life throughout the years.

Scripture teaches us that “…the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13 ESV) For this reason, let us focus on our race and our journey in a way that it cannot be said of us, “You were running well. Who hindered you …” (Galatians 5:7, ESV).

In conclusion:

“Help us Lord Jesus to lean upon your strength because ours is inadequate. Forgive us where we have allowed circumstances to determine our commitment to You. Help us to encourage others as we all have had bad days, bad news, and bad attitudes. And Lord please keep us good folks out of jail!” – Amen!

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