Among my friends, I am known for my lack of driving skills. It’s not a reputation I ever try to rebut. I admit it. I am not a good driver. But if there’s one thing I do right when I drive, it’s my obedience of traffic laws. I stop at all stop signs, I yield when I’m supposed and I always signal before I switch lanes. Except when I drive into the city where my law school is located. With a reputation for being a fairly dangerous and lawless city where the police have bigger fish to fry than those disobeying traffic laws, I find myself treating red lights as mere suggestions to stop. I go 55 miles-per-hour in a zone with 25 miles-per-hour speed limit. And I rarely ever signal.

The state of lawlessness around me makes it much easier for me to break laws I would never break otherwise. St. Paul honed in on this point in his epistle to the Romans when he wrote, “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness…”

Lawlessness leads to more lawlessness. It’s much easier to cheat, lie, and steal when everyone else is cheating, lying, and stealing. And this is the problem that arises when we begin to set the bar for comparison at our surroundings. The world is full of lawlessness and if the world is the standard we aspire to reach then we set ourselves on a downward spiral. But we are called to perfection and holiness just as our Father in heaven is perfect and Holy. The bar must be set high so that we may continue to reach toward Him at all times.

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