You have probably heard the news from earlier this week about the dozen inmates who used peanut butter to escape a Walker County jail. The story made national news, not just because of the violent criminals who were on the loose for a few days in north-central Alabama, but also for the manner in which they escaped.
Evidently, the men used the peanut butter to switch lettering on cell and outside doors, then told a guard in a control booth to open the door leading to their freedom. The guard was a new employee with only a week on the job.
Fortunately, no one was hurt, except for the pride of the Walker County jail staff, and the final escapee was captured on Wednesday. And of course, Walker County enjoyed its fifteen minutes of fame, with stories on the national news and jokes on the late night talk shows about the peanut butter bandits, much to their embarrassment.
Speaking of getting out of jail, a little more than a month ago, a Minnesota man tried to use a “Get Out of Jail Free” card from the Monopoly board game to avoid arrest. After being pulled over for a traffic violation, officer discovered the man had an outstanding warrant for a controlled substance. That’s when he sought to use the card, but he was arrested anyway. Apparently he could not pass “Go” either, nor did he collect his $200. (And, I assume, he had to wait three turns and pay a $50 fine before he could get out of jail, unless he rolled doubles.)
It’s amazing the lengths people will go to to avoid paying for their crimes. But then again, we have been dodging and deflecting, excusing and justifying, and blaming and denying since sin first entered the human race. I have realized that even more as we have been in our study of Genesis this summer. After the first act of rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve hid, then blamed the serpent, each other, and even God for their sin. Then a generation later, Cain lied and denied after he murdered his brother, and then audaciously asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”, as if God didn’t know where Abel was. And we have all been following in t he footsteps of our forefathers (and foremothers) ever since.
But the reality is, you are not going to get away from the long arm of the law, or from God either. There’s no hiding, and no escaping, even if you are smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy. He knows where you are, what you did, and someone has to pay for your crimes.
The good news for all of us is, Someone has paid for our crimes. There is a “Get Out of HellFree” card, and we don’t have to trick a rookie guard to get it. We have a gracious God who loves us enough to pay for our crimes Himself, by sending His Son to take the punishment we all deserve. But we do have to own up to our sin, acknowledge and confess it, and receive by faith His gift of forgiveness and pardon.
I hope you know the One who loves you that much, and that you live in the gratitude of His grace each day. You just can’t escape His love. I am praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.