Over the past several decades, ill-informed tour guides in the region have made several factually incorrect statements about our Island. I guess there is something mystical about a small community accessible only by boat, so statements that would otherwise seem absurd are taken as true, being accepted without a moment’s doubt. Therefore, occasionally tourists will arrive here already believing that this is a place without rules, without law enforcement, and that pretty much anything goes while they are here. When they rent their golf carts for the day, they sign a form that tells them that the normal rules and laws apply. Unfortunately, some tourists reject the reality of that form for the false reality that they had embraced when they decided to visit – the lie that laws don’t apply here.
On occasion, some of us island residents will speak to these tourists if we see them behaving poorly. We do so politely, often letting them know about the presence of the Sheriff’s deputies, and letting them know about the potential fines for their behavior if they are caught. Whether it was a parent letting their ten year old child drive, or teenagers joyriding on private property, or a group of adults openly drinking and driving, we are trying to protect them and ourselves from illegal and dangerous behavior.
Sometimes, our words are received with humility and appreciation, as the offender realizes that we really do have laws that are enforced here and that they could easily be fined several hundred dollars. Other times, however, the offenders react with anger and hostility, rejecting the truth of the law and continuing to embrace their selfish desires to behave as they want. Sometimes the deputies then catch them, sometimes the cart rental agency is notified and the cart is taken away from them, and sometimes they get away with their behavior – although thankfully that happens far less than it used to.
In 2 Chronicles 34, King Josiah’s men come across the Book of the Law of Moses while cleaning and repairing the temple in Jerusalem. As the priest reads the Book to Josiah, the king is horrified to learn how far astray the people had gone from God’s Law. Josiah humbles himself before God, embraces God’s Law, and leads a revival of sorts in Judah and Israel. Because of his humility, God let Josiah go to his grave without seeing the nation punished for its disobedience.
There are many laws that we have strayed from in our nation today, and how we respond to the revelation of the truth will have significant consequences. Will we accept the gentle correction being offered, or will we continue to embrace false narratives that better fit our own selfish desires? Ultimately, truth is truth, and it will prevail. If we accept it today, with humility, it may well be that we also get to go to our graves without seeing punishment for our disobedience. However, if we continue to reject it, we do so at our own peril, deserving whatever wrath ultimately comes upon our heads. I pray that we will choose wisely, as individuals and as a nation.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron