Short cuts

It’s time for another report from the Facebook links.  Really, one of these days I will quit watching these things.  But then again, if I did, where would I get ideas for this column?

Anyway, in this particular instance a woman was being interviewed by a TV reporter because she had difficulties while dropping her children off at school.  She was running late, so she decided to cut through an elementary school parking lot to get to another school in the neighborhood, driving around two traffic cones while doing so.  One schoolteacher was so upset at her actions that he literally threw himself onto the hood of her car.

The debate, evidently, was over what sort of sanction should be given a teacher who would do such a thing.  Personally, I’m more inclined to give him a medal.

Granted, actually jumping onto a person’s car is probably over the top.  If that Chinese student in Tiananmen Square back in the day could block a tank just by walking around, I suspect this teacher could have stopped a Toyota.  Still, how is he the villain in this story?  Clearly the villain is the woman who was willing to endanger children’s lives simply because she was running late.

Most people who take short cuts can avoid the consequences that are associated with them.  That does not make it OK to take short cuts.  “I got away with it” is not a license to transgress.  And if “I’m just one person” is an excuse, what makes you think you’re the “one person” who deserves a pass more than anyone else?

I’ve taken my share of “short cuts” behind the wheel.  And I freely confess, the vast majority of them involve driving faster than the posted speed limit or using routes that prohibit through traffic entirely.  And those rules were put in place for a reason.  It is not the job of enforcers to explain the validity of every law to every would-be lawbreaker.  It is the job of the individual to know and submit to the rules of society.  Failure to do so has serious consequences.

Short cuts elevate the individual over the law. 

And we as Christians know better than anyone how lawless and rebellious this attitude is.  “Every knee” (Philippians 2:10) is required to bow to our King, Jesus.  When we start thinking compliance is situational, we become kings in our own mind.

Short cuts reward poor planning and execution

Because you didn’t plan ahead, you get to do whatever you want?  Then why would anyone plan ahead?   It’s like Christians sinning the more so grace can increase (Romans 6:1).  It calls into question how badly you ever really wanted to obey.

Short cuts embolden others to transgress

You may consider your “short cut” to be situational, but your neighbor may not.  We are to salt the earth with Jesus (Matthew 5:13), not provide a pathway to rebellion.

What kind of “short cuts” might we take regarding the will of Christ?  Glad you asked.

Letting the church do our work. 

It is my job to teach my children about the gospel (Ephesians 6:4), to assist those who are in need (Matthew 5:42), to be a light for Jesus in my neighborhood (Matthew 5:16).  To simply assume that such things will get done because we have a functioning local church is lazy and ineffective.

Ignoring sin’s warning signs

We can bypass the stickiness of evaluating a “questionable” situation and just indulge, knowing that we serve a merciful God who will forgive us if we “get in too deep.” To “examine everything carefully” and “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) requires a lot more effort.  But it gets us out of sin’s pathway far quicker and more effectively than just “winging it” through life.

“Studying the Bible” just at the church building.  

Group Bible studies are a great blessing.  The presentation of God’s word is an authorized and useful thing.   But neither is a substitute for actually giving yourself to the word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  You don’t wait a week to eat, do you?