The trouble with traffic
The trouble with traffic is that you can get caught in it. And, today it's fast. So, going with the crowd isn't necessarily about character flaws, approval addiction, or seeking the applause of men. Sometimes we just get in the wrong lane and, in a flash, are swept away in the flow. But, that's the trouble with traffic. It's an easy place to get trapped.
Social media has a traffic pattern all it's own. And, it's faster than the freeway leading out of town. They don't call it the internet super highway for nothing. In a culture with few taboos the access ramps are many, the exits few. As a result more and more of us are going with the flow, caught in the traffic, in the cultural rush hour that thrusts us head-long to the wrong places. So, today, many well-meaning, noble people, including a good many believers, not to mention spiritual leaders, will merge into the high traffic lanes of social issues that are inconsistent with the narrow road our Master directed.
You see, Jesus talked about traffic. In the Sermon on the Mount he said,
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to
destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the
way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Even in the slow paced world of first century Israel there was the danger of getting caught up in the traffic, of going with the flow. His counsel resonated with people following the crowds to hopeless tradition, political expediency, or financial security. Certainly it rings true today in those same temptations but also in our desire to ease our corporate guilt or step outside of the rigid profile culture has assigned to us. Sometimes our energy to engage this world blurs the lines that separate the lanes. Suddenly, in the traffic, we've mellowed regarding all of the news-worthy issues---gender, race, respect for authority, personal integrity, absolute truth, human nature, and so many others. And, you know what? It's the traffic. The wide path, the one that is popular. The people on that broad avenue are never going to like us because we have the vestiges of Christian faith around us to some degree. So, we're not in that lane because of esteem issues. We're in it because we're caught in the traffic.
How can this be avoided? What warning signs can keep us in the correct lane?
1. Beware of congested traffic. The gospel will always place us at odds with a
secular culture. If we're going with the flow, we're probable in the wrong lane.
2. Obey speed limits. Scripture addresses speed in many places. Like being slow
to speak, waiting on God, exhibiting patience, learning endurance, and
listening to him. Often, we get caught in the traffic by being hasty with issues.
Being first to speak isn't always an advantage.
3. Follow the road signs. Our worst turns often happen when we're not paying
attention to the directions we've been given. Scripture is very clear about where
we are to stand on social issues and matters of cultural concern.
4. Do not enter. There are places and positions and even engagement areas that
are marked off to believers. We should not go there, ever.
5. Check the cargo. Most of us have been entrusted with valuable cargo, the
precious people in our lives. It might be good to check the cargo areas once
in a while to insure they are safe before we get caught up in the traffic.
These are treacherous times and the wide lanes are filling quickly. Already the agents of secularism are there, along with the media elite, people with decidedly left of center leanings, politicians from both sides of the aisle, and the fringes of young pop culture. Now, the access lanes are jammed with evangelical denominations and their spiritual leaders who have veered into the traffic and cannot get out. It's the slippery slope side-ways, the drift from once staunch biblical authority to a no-holds-barred approach to every cultural whim.
The trouble with traffic is that you can get caught in it.
The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.