I saw an article in a Chicago newspaper with the headline that read:
WHO STOPS AT STOP SIGNS? NOBODY!
A minister at La Vista Church of Christ made note of a member who said that every morning she had to drive 15 miles over the speed limit in order to get to work on time; and she wanted to know if that was a sin.
Friends, I am so exasperated over this casual, no big deal, scofflaw attitude that permeates society. I guess this article would come under the heading of being a law-abiding and, yes, loving person.
I was riding my bike home the other day, the light was green, but I had to stop abruptly in the middle of the intersection because a crowd of twenty-somethings who had just left a nearby pub were crossing against a red light.
Well, I was so infuriated — not just at the crowd, but because this happens ALL THE TIME!
So, I hollered, “Someone’s got a green light!,” and one of the young women in a sing-song, slurred giggle replied, “It doesn’t matter.” Oh, traffic lights don’t matter — since when? Holding my tongue I could only think, “A true daughter of Eve.”
On a bike ride the other day I came to a stop sign, and was waiting for the next car to go when a young woman on a 10-speed blew right past me without stopping. The opposite driver had to hit his brakes, and yield to the biker who seemingly believed the stop sign didn’t apply to her.
For the next 10 blocks, or so, she ran every stop sign, and a couple of red lights. If you are a bike rider, and sympathetic towards this woman, may I remind you that according to the law bicyclists must observe all traffic regulations.
At every intersection cars had to yield their right of way to this villainous woman. I finally hollered out, “You’ve got to stop at stop signs!” She yelled back, “Chill!”
Chill? I don’t even know what that means, but if she keeps running stop signs she might experience a head-on introduction with a motorist who has the same attitude, and that would be chilling to say the least.
I feel like I’m living in Bizarro world where everything is upside-down, inside-out, right is wrong and wrong is right. This is just a smaller symptom of a greater problem. People have a wicked heart. They do what they please, as they please, and they don’t want to be told otherwise. They are their own authority, narcissistic, idolatrous, contemptuous and without any sense of guilt, or conscience. Forgive my rant, but you know it’s true!
The high incidence of traffic accidents in my neighborhood finally compelled the city to install traffic lights and stop signs on opposite ends of the street. So often we’d hear the crashing roar of crumpled metal and shattered glass that action had to be taken.
The stop signs can be seen through my kitchen window and I can testify that no one stops — NO ONE — bicyclists nor vehicles. Motorists hardly slow down to yield much less apply their brakes. The wheels keep turning and they keep moving — called famously the California stop.
Yesterday, a man was walking through the marked crosswalk when a driver pulled up … Oh, that’s the other thing. Listen up, people, the law requires you to stop behind the line — not over (or inside) the crosswalk. In my town if a moving vehicle comes within 2 feet of a pedestrian it is considered to be vehicular assault. Anyway, the driver, perturbed that he had to stop, hollered, “C’mon, man!”
See, this is the thing, pedestrians are just in the way of motorists. Like the stop sign, we’re an inconvenience. We’re nothing more than orange cones on an obstacle course. Drivers hate us. They’re always in a hurry, multi-tasking as they text with one hand and steer with the other. There was a woman caught on film who was fumbling with her cell phone, and steering with her feet! Some people are just too stupid to live. I don’t understand, I can’t comprehend the depth of God’s grace and mercy that he just didn’t end it all after the Flood. I mean, really!
So, now you’re probably thinking, “How does any of this relate to the Bible?” In answer to the woman from the church of Christ, it is a sin to drive over the posted limit. (By the way, why doesn’t she just leave 10 minutes earlier in the morning?) It’s a sin to ignore stop signs. It’s a sin to endanger pedestrians. Oh, you do it every time you turn right on a green light, and impede the person trying to walk across the street. When the light turns green the pedestrian has the right of way. You, the motorist, are turning against the red light — you must yield according to the law, but you don’t. “I’m cocooned in 2000 pounds of steel. I’m makin’ this turn, pedestrian be damned!”
Would you hear Paul regarding your civic obligation to obey the law?
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment (Romans 13:1–2).
Civil government is ordained by God, and with the primary function to protect society and punish the lawbreaker. The Federal government, for instance, has classified marijuana as an illegal substance yet I know Christians who smoke pot. That is sin. And I don’t want to hear your fallacious arguments: “Oh, but it’s a natural substance. God made it for us to use. And, anyway, I have Christian liberty to smoke dope, get drunk, and sleep around because Jesus died for my sins past, present and future.”
Folks, you can sit in your pew with blinders on, but people in the church actually believe that Jesus has set them free to just go on sinning. A popular doctrine, false to be sure, is that Christians don’t have to confess their sins. Where is that written in the Bible, eh? Peter has a word to say about living free in Christ.
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God (1 Peter 2:13–17).
What did Peter say? Don’t think Christian liberty is a permission to do wrong. Yes, we are free in Christ, but from what are we free? Sin, my friends.
Jesus had this discussion with the Pharisees (John 8:31–36). He had told them that the truth would set them free, but they answered they were enslaved to no one. You see, they did not understand that Jesus was talking about sin.
Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Not free to sin, but free from sin. Or, as Paul wrote (Romans 6:1–2):
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Let’s bring it on home. Paul said we are not walking in love if, by our actions, we cause a brother to stumble. If a brother smokes dope, goes to bars, watches adult movies and, yes, disobeys the law (however minor) — think how that will impact the one who is weaker in faith. If the recovering alcoholic sees a brother going to a bar, well, that just might set back his recovery.
Since nobody stops at stop signs why should I?
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love (Galatians 5:13).
Consider this — there are no stop signs in hell. I can’t cite chapter and verse — it’s just an instinct. Imagine people wandering through eternal darkness, bumping around, stubbing their toes, constantly running into other lost souls — navigating their way through eternity by the sounds of gnashing teeth and shrieking cries … sort of like crumpled metal and breaking glass.
And if we determine by the narrow gate that Jesus means only people who stop at stop signs will enter heaven — then heaven will be sparsely populated, indeed.
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