The other day I was driving and watched a truck make an illegal left turn. No sooner had I said to myself – “hey – you can’t do that” then I watched a police officer pull out, go around me, and turn on the patrol lights. Although I didn’t see the rest of the interaction I have to imagine that the few seconds the truck saved by turning 10 feet too early, were quickly superseded by the time the driver spent explaining his actions to the government official. I very much doubt that in the end, the driver thought it was worth it.
Interestingly, the place where this infraction took place is a spot I drive by frequently. Many times people are tempted to take what seems like an expeditious, yet illegal turn. Perhaps the driver of the truck had seen others do it and figured no harm or consequence came their way. Perhaps the driver was simply in a rush and figured this turn was expedient. What I do know is that the driver is not alone in thinking the shortcut can be beneficial, only to find that in the end it is not.
Of course, far too often we do the same thing in our lives. We justify what seem like “small” infractions of God’s laws because we think our way is better. We follow the path of least resistance, even when we know God calls us to resist. We watch other people sin and seemingly experience no consequences and we are tempted to do the same.
However, it doesn’t take much understanding of Scripture to realize that this thinking is in error. The Bible makes it clear that what we do has consequences – whether good or bad (Gal. 6:7-8). If we are disobedient to God in one small area, we are more likely to be disobedient to Him in another. Sin begets sin. Just as obedience leads to greater obedience.
So the next time we are tempted to take the shortcut, may we remember the peril that shortcuts so often hold. May we instead be committed to do things according to God’s standards, trusting that in the end, even if it is not the easiest or the quickest, we will be right where God wants us to be.