Question:

Hello,

I have a question. In the past I have broken laws like jay walking and stealing when I was a kid. I have repented of this long ago, but now I am worried. Am I legally obligated to report myself? I know we are suppose to submit to laws. Also in the past, this was years ago and I was a minor, but someone gave me a switch blade. I found out they were illegal and got rid of it. The person who gave it to me gave it to someone else. I think possession of a switch blade is a felony. I think it is required by law to report a felony. I think it is called a misprision of a felony. Do I need to turn myself in to be right with God? This worries me.

Thank you


Answer:

While the events happened long ago, it is clear that you have not left them behind as you should when you repented. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). We all have done things that should not have been done. That is why Paul's point that all men sin is universally accepted as true (Romans 3:23). The point of being a Christian is not where you have been but where you are going.

In the United States, there is a specific constitutional rule about not being required to report yourself. It is an aspect of the 5th amendment.

Misprision of a felony was originally a part of English common law. It was a misdemeanor crime to not report knowledge of a felony. However, there were exceptions. A person did not have to disclose information that would incriminate himself of the felony or a related crime, nor was a person expected to disclose information against a close family member. In the United States it is a crime to actively conceal knowledge of a crime, but failure to report a felony is not a crime.

In the United States it is illegal to sell or transport across state lines switchblades, but whether a switchblade is illegal in a particular state is up to that state.

You did things that were wrong in the past. You've repented of those things, meaning you no longer do them. That is what God wants from you. Now it is time to focus on doing what is right.