This is a fairly innocuous sign on the side of a fairly innocuous house in a fairly innocuous neighborhood in a fairly crime-ridden Latin American country. It says, “Guarded House.” Nobody thinks twice about that–except maybe a prospective perp of some kind. And that’s who should think twice about it. We have a sign like this in front of our house, too, letting the public know that our home is protected by a security company. At least that’s the theory–and it has worked well on a couple of embarrassing occasions when we’ve left the house a moment after the system has engaged and our friend–the first contact on the list–has called me frantically on my cell phone a few minutes later to let me know the boys in blue were en route to the house.
The second sign, spray painted in the same block, is equally bland–“Neighbourhood Organized Against Crime.” (In this case, it must have worked–the wall on which it’s painted is not topped with razor wire or broken bottles, which are the usual architectural features in this place.) We have signs like this all over our communities; groups like Neighbourhood Watch, C.O.P.S., Block Parents and Crimestoppers are all welcome where we live. Many homeowners associations conduct their own scaled-down versions of these programs.
The third sign is a bit more sinister. It reads, “Captured Thief Will Be Burned.” Does that mean he (or she–sorry, ladies, I didn’t mean to sound sexist) will be tickled with the end of a lit cigarette? Taught a lesson with a plumbing torch? Doused with gas and roasted like a martyr? I don’t know, but I’d be hesitant to wager my own hide to find out.
I’m thankful I live in a place where such measures are unnecessary. But I’m even more thankful that my real security–not the safety of my home, but the destiny of my soul–was purchased by my Saviour, Jesus Christ, when He took my sin upon Himself on the cross at Calvary.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8.1, ESV)