Pet Peeves and Fool’s Gold

By Desiree Effner

Our apartment building has a parking lot for its tenants. The restaurant next door has a parking lot for its customers. We have a sign saying, “No restaurant parking allowed.”  The restaurant has a sign saying, “No tenant parking allowed.”

Yes, here’s another sign of the times.

Every Sunday morning, this restaurant gets a huge after-church crowd. At least a dozen of their customers park in our lot in spite of our sign. Some of their employees also routinely park there.  No tenants have dared to park in their lot, so far as I know.

Last Sunday an older couple drove up in their big, expensive vehicle and parked next to the waitress who was parked right in front of our patio, as usual. The car had a cross and some other religious paraphernalia hanging from the rear-view mirror. 

The Missus headed to the restaurant to wait in line for a seat. I glared at the Mister through our sliding glass door.  He brazenly got out, and to add insult to injury, let their mutt out of the back seat so he could do his business on the grass strip in the middle of the parking lot. Well, that was going too far.

I had just prayed a mere hour before, that the Lord would give me grace to not blow up when these trials come my way, and instead get only moderately indignant. Therefore, I moderately cynically opened the door and said to the driver, “Okay, I’m going to come to your home, park in your driveway and let my dog do his business in your yard.” 

I closed the door and returned to the kitchen where I rule with an iron rolling pin. The driver got back in his car and left.  He did not take the dog’s business with him. I guess that evened the score.

I distinctly recall that the Bible teaches us to be obedient to the civic authorities. Also, we’re supposed to be honest and practice the Golden Rule and avoid all appearances of evil.

So, how does a guy, just out of church, ignore a sign, steal a parking spot that is paid for by someone’s rent, send his dumb pet to do business on someone else’s lawn—all while sporting the Christian symbol for all to see? If his car had a co-exist sticker on it, there would be no contention. He would be practicing what he preached. But his was not biblically-based behavior.

Does anyone in church preach about the Golden Rule anymore? It is the easiest part of our faith to adhere to. A heathen can abide by it, to some degree. They can fake it. But cheap grace and antinomianism permit us to require others to obey laws and ordinances that we ourselves are apparently unshackled by. 

I’ve found that the best way to win a dispute in life is to not hold people to my standards. That goes nowhere. But we can hold people to their standards, especially if they are written down.  Oh, for the good old days. 

Now?  Forget it.  Everything is relative. Truth is what we choose to perceive and apply at any given moment. We indulge our fancy and act, seemingly with impunity. Thus, apartment management refuses to either enforce the rules (the sign) or take the sign down.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12).

“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1).

“And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).

“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles…” (1 Peter 2:12).

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 7:12).

Ah, there’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life.

Now, for every verse I know that I can flog this miscreant with, I can cite a dozen others to use on myself. I get that, too. I am constantly occupied with mote-removal.

But honestly, don’t Christians get this?:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22 ).

Can we at least hear that from the pulpit?