The Sin Album

One of the joys of living in Germany is the ‘blitzer’ – traffic cameras. They are unforgiving. If you happen to be caught going over speed limit, a light goes off, your picture is taken and sent to you with a traffic ticket. No policeman with which to discuss the situation. No mercy for having a clean record or an ill child. No you were caught, you will pay up.

The first time this happened to us we lived near Kiel, and I am happy to report that the person my husband said he would be transporting was the person in the car with him, and they were going where he said they would be going. Yes, the pictures are that clear. And yes, there are some spouses who aren’t so lucky. The traffic camera photos are regularly presented in divorce court as evidence of marital misbehavior.

Since we have arrived in Munich, my husband has been photographed twice – both times during one of his long trips to London to deliver our oldest son to university. So you can imagine his immense joy when he came home one evening to discover that the newest traffic photo was of me! I was a whole 8 km over speed limit coming into town (just didn’t slow down fast enough, probably because I had a speedy gonzales on my tail. There are a lot of those in this area.). At any rate, my husband suggested that we keep all our traffic ticket photos in an album and call it our ‘sin album’ – to keep us humble. We had a good laugh about it, and will probably do it, though we are in no hurry to add to the collection.

This got me to thinking. I was wondering if snapshots were taken of all the bad things I had done and collected into an album, and that album was set next to an album of all the good works I had done, which one would be bigger? But that is very simplistic, isn’t it? Some deeds have huge consequences – so the album might be weighted not by number, but by quality as well.

And then I heard in my head the words that I spoke to comfort my brother-in-law in the final weeks of his life. He was shedding tears of regret for some of his actions, and I told him that the Lord ‘does not deal with us according to our sins. He takes them and throws them as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more.’ (Psalm 103: 10 – 12) Through his tears, my brother-in-law looked at me and said, ‘Really?’ Yes. Really.

The Lord doesn’t keep albums. He looks at your heart, and then what he sees is the blood of His Son, and all is forgiven.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 27:14

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About Lois Loban Stuckenbruck

Trained as a Ballerina, then completed a BA in Business Adm and English Literature at Milligan College. More recently trained to be a lay pastor (Reader) in the Church of England. Wife of a Biblical Scholar, Mother of three. I'm an American who has also lived many years in England and Germany (currently Munich). I have worked as an Editorial Assistant, Systems Manager (Xerox Stars on Ethernet Network), and several positions in higher education fundraising (Alumni and Development).
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