The Perils of the Shortcut

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of the interaction I have to imagine that the few seconds the truck saved by turning 10 feet too early, were quickly superseded by the time the driver spent explaining his actions to the government official.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.

 

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Looking Out

My husband loves sports. I realize that a lot of wives can say that but I think few would find that their husband’s fervor for sports matches his. He can articulately talk about teams and sports that he cares little about, simply because he so enjoys the thrill of competition.

As the wives of sport enthusiasts can tell you, a lot of time can be spent pursuing this passion. (I should also say that my husband is mindful to find the right balance and he has used his love of sports for significant ministry opportunities, so no need to worry – he is keeping the right perspective.) Although I like sports, my threshold for investing in them is far less than what my husband’s is. My interests and inclinations lie elsewhere.

Given this background, it will probably not come as a surprise then that at different points in our marriage there has been some contention regarding my husband’s affection for sports. Normally this is because I feel like something that is interesting to me is being superseded by his affinity for “the game.” Even though my husband has graciously reduced the amount of the time he has invested, and works hard to minimize its impact on our family, selfishly there are still moments where I wish it would be gone completely.

However, I have come to realize that not only was this desire incredibly self-centered, it was also very myopic of me. I was only seeing how my husband’s interest impacted what I wanted; I failed to see how I could bless my husband through it. I Β knew it was important to him and even though I may not share the same interest, because it mattered to him, this was an area where I could graciously cede my desires so that he could benefit.

What’s true in this regard, is also true in many other areas. I am quick to identify what is beneficial to me and try to protect myself from what is inconvenient. However, I would be wiser, and more loving, if instead I was on the look out for how I could bless him. In doing so, not only would I show my love for him, but our marriage would more accurately reflect the kind of love that Christ has called us to demonstrate.

What does this mean practically? How can we be on the look out to bless our spouse? Here are some ideas:

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