NIV + The Message + Blue Letter

Five-over is a generally accepted practice. There’s a margin of error in every speedometer and a margin of error in ever clocking gun. So your safe driving 70 in a 65, at least thats how I justify speeding.

Steve had hair past his shoulders and drove a white car with a red bird stenciled on the hood. It wasn’t the iconic firebird, it was something Steve painted on himself. He took speeding to another level. Steve is the only person I know who puts speeding tickets, or passes as he calls them, into his budget.

In Chicago, and the rest of Illinois, 30 over is automatically considered reckless driving. That’s a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail. So 95 in a 65 was Steve’s speed limit, at least on the high way.

It all started when Steve was in high school. A couple weeks before his 17th birthday, he got his first ticket. To this day he claims he was following the five-over rule. That’s also what he told the officer when he asked “Do you know how fast you were going?”

The cop laughed.

Ted got combative. He also got a ticket.

On the back of the ticket, it said “1-19 mph over … $120.” The officer pointed this out to silence Steve. It did.

Driving the speed limit wasn’t an option for Steve. So he did the math. He’d been driving five-over for almost a year before he got his first ticket. If he was going to have to pay $120 every time he got caught, he figured why not a twenty-over rule, at least on the highway.

As Steve tells the story, he drove this way every day and didn’t get a ticket for at least six months. By the time he did, he figured he must have saved 250 hours. “That’s about $2 an hour. I make $7.50 at work so it’s a great trade off. I’ve probably made $2,000 working all those extra hours.” Steve bragged.

His logic was flawed, in may areas; but Steve was counting the cost.

I haven’t talked to Steve for 20 years, but I thought of him when I read

A gift given in secret soothes anger,

    and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

Anger and wrath come at a very high cost. People know when others are mad at them; but rarely count that cost.

Steve literally counted the cost of speeding. He noticed the new line on the back of a ticket. Sandwiched between the fine for 1-19 over and the warning about reckless driving was “20-29mph over… $140.” Steve made a spreed sheet, then adjusted his budget. $20 for an extra 10 miles every hour was a bargain. So Steve has a twenty-nine-over rule.

Jesus encourages us to count the cost. He told his disciples the cost of discipleship was high and then to count it. In Luke 14 he said

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

I don’t know what the cost of anger is; but I know it’s high.

The Starbucks I’m at has five packs of gift cards. I threw $5 on each because I took some time to ⏫Look Up. Maybe this is Steve’s logic; but I figured it’s worth an experiment. When someone’s angry, I’m giving them a gift card. When I counted the cost $25 was low. It was worth the risk.

Like I say at the end of every blog, very so often (usually 10-14 days) I look back and when I do, I share it. If you want to know what I saw, sign up for my email. (the first one goes out Easter Monday). Chances are good, you’ll find out how this experiment works there before I blog about it.

Look Up What gift could you give to sooth anger?

If you come up with something and when you Look Out⏩ it makes sense for you to try this experiment yourself, please share in the comment.

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My friend Justin founded Punk Chiridion if you like challenges like todays you should follow them.

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