It seems like when I'm driving around the Southside of Chicago that stop signs are treated like suggestions instead of laws. It could be bone dry out, but that won't stop Mr. "My Time is More Important Than Yours" from rolling through the 4-way stop so he can get home 7 seconds faster.
I wish I could say that Lloyd Christmas' words from Dumb and Dumber "Hey, I guess they're right. Senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose. I'll be right back. Don't you go dying on me!" was the excuse for all the people I see, but I can't. It is multi-generational.
If you think about it, the society we live in is really held together by a thin line of faith and trust in the people around us. I mean, if a line of cars completely ignored the stop light at a busy intersection there really isn't much you as a driver wanting to go the other way can do. We trust that the other drivers around us will abide by the same laws we know and stop, yield, signal, and turn when and how they are supposed to. However it only takes one person to ignore the rules and disaster strikes.
We also have faith that the laws that are established are created with our safety and best interests in mind. I don't think anyone can say that a stop sign is made just to make people mad or to be used as a college sociology experiment, although that would be interesting research to see.
The laws are put in place for our own good, but yet people still roll through life because they feel they are better than the law or they think their way is right. However, just as rolling through a stop sign will set you up for a T-bone (and I don't mean from Smith and Wollenskys) so will rolling through the directions God gives us.
We read in Proverbs these words:
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." – Proverbs 16:25
"Wow Brian this seems a little extreme! I mean isn't comparing my not stopping at a yellow light and death a little much?" Or to bring it to a spiritual point, "How does me sleeping with my girlfriend before I'm married and dying have anything to do with each other?" I guess it depends on which car you are in.
I just wonder if we ever stop and think about what our decisions to not follow God's direction in life do to other people. We usually try to motivate change from the internal drive to do better for ourselves, but what about the drive to do better so you don't jack up somebody else?
When my friends were killed in a traffic accident back in high school it wasn't their choice to get hit by that drunk driver. They didn't choose to drive into his lane on the highway. No, their lives were affected because of the decision of someone else to think their way was right.
To bring it closer to home, maybe you call yourself a Christian man, attend church regularly, read the Bible every morning, call your grandmother regularly, and volunteer at the animal shelter on Tuesday nights. But in your relationship you tell your “new to the faith” girlfriend it's ok to sleep together before you’re married because you are "married in your hearts". Death still happens. A little bit of the purity of that young woman died. The image she has of a Christ-like relationship is shattered. All because you rolled through a stop sign designed by God because you thought it wasn't hurting anyone.
Our sin has a ripple effect that radiates far beyond our personal space and impacts the lives of so many more people than we will ever know.
The beautiful part of this Proverb though is what the opposite effect of it can be. If we take a second to re-write it in the positive it would read.
"All the ways of God are right, and will bring life."
Now that's a saying you can put on a t-shirt! It's also a verse that you can trust to live your life by without any regret.
God's design is for us to not roll through the stop signs He made, but to trust that the guardrails He designed are meant for our protection and for those around us we love. So take an extra second and come to a complete stop…it may just save a life…not just yours.