When I was a much younger man, I once made a trip to the local municipal court in downtown Kansas City to argue my innocence concerning a traffic ticket I had received.
I worked in a tall office building near Crown Center, and I worked the night shift. Every night, as I approached the building, I would make a u-turn, which allowed my headlights to shine into the lobby. The night watchman would see me and open the large security doors to the garage so I could park inside. This was a routine for quite a while.
One night, just as I made the u-turn, lights started flashing and I did not know why. The officer explained that I had made a u-turn in a “no u-turn” zone. I explained that I made the turn every night and had never been stopped before, but he wrote me a ticket anyway.
I decided that I would go to court instead of just mailing in the fine. When I got to the courtroom, the judge was a good enough guy from the old neighborhood, and I figured he would understand and let it go with just a warning. I explained my side of the issue, and finished by saying there was no sign there indicating it was a “no u-turn” zone, and there was really no way for me to know it was illegal to do so.
He asked me, rather sternly, to approach the bench. I thought this would be the moment he told me to just be more careful and then let me go my way. I was wrong.
“Mr. Stewart,” he said. “Ignorance is no excuse.” I was then ordered to pay the fine as well as any court costs related to the case. I was humiliated.
In our lives as children of God, we are not only allowed to make u-turns, but God asks us to over and over in his word. An example would be in Zechariah 1, verse 3, where God tells the prophet: “Therefore, say to them, thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of Hosts, and I will turn unto you …”
Throughout the scriptures God asks us to make a u-turn — to repent — and to come back to him. To repent means to make a 180 degree turn and walk away from that which is separating us from the Father: from sin; from idols; from whatever it is that is keeping us out of God’s plan and direction for our lives.
When we realize that we are going the wrong way, no matter what the reason might be, we need to turn completely around and walk straight to him. Continuing to walk in sin will not take care of the problem.
Now you know. So, in the words of that judge so many years ago — “ignorance is no excuse.” The difference is, God says it’s not only OK to make a u-turn, it is imperative.