Four-way Stops and Lawlessness

Near our home there is a four-way stop on a road that leads to a very busy store. The road is always filled with cars and over time I have been watching the behavior of drivers at the stop signs. Either they have stopped teaching how four-way stops work or the mechanics of the intersection have become obsolete.

Drivers no longer wait their turn to pass through the intersection. Many times one car will follow directly behind the car in front of it so two cars go through together. Other times people just randomly enter the intersection whenever it seems good to them. Stopping and waiting your turn to enter almost assures you of a long wait as cars can come from any direction at any time.

That corner has come to symbolize for me the lawlessness that is overtaking our nation. “What I need and what I want” have become the basis for most decisions made by folks today. No longer do laws apply to everyone equally. In many cases, just as at that four-way stop, those who obey the law suffer consequences because of those who don’t.

I’ve noticed it other places as well. Red lights mean nothing anymore. It is no longer safe to proceed into traffic on a green light. Most times at least one driver and sometimes two or three pass through the intersection long after their light has turned red. The express lane at the store is hindered by those who feel the item number limit doesn’t apply to them. Shoplifting, looting, and destroying the property of others is okay if their “privilege” has given them more than you have.

Lawlessness seems now to be sanctioned by our government as well. Laws are not enforced if the breaking of them is part of “social justice.” Our country is flooded with those who have come here illegally and live here illegally. That lawlessness adds to an already “me” focused population. Consistently people in our government break the law with seemingly no consequences. It seems that obeying the law is now seen as legalistic or just plain stupid.

So where do we, members of the Body of Christ and residents of His Kingdom, stand in this lawless world? Perhaps Philippians 2:14-15 says it best. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…”

Swimming upstream is uncomfortable at times. It seems so much easier to just conform, to give in to temptation here and there. The clerk gave us too much change or failed to charge for an item. It’s so easy to justify that the store makes money and isn’t going to miss that little amount. But it’s not about the store. And the four-way stop isn’t about traffic.

It’s about the condition of our hearts. Divorce is rampant in the Church because it has been justified again and again based on “what is best for me.” Christians are caught in affairs and Christian businessmen are discovered cheating their clients. Why is this? Does lawlessness all around us excuse our behavior? Does the lawlessness of our society set the bar for our behavior or does the Word of God?

For our light to shine and to influence those around us, we must be examples of the order of His Kingdom, obeying His will. Every big decision is preceded by hundreds of little ones. Every person that ever had an affair allowed those thoughts and those images to fill his or her mind long before action was taken. Scripture tells us, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” [Proverbs 23:7]. We must determine ahead of time how we will act and react in situations.

There will always be pressure to conform to the world and there will always be persecution for not doing so. There will always be a desire to do things our own way, to have our own will. But He has overcome the world and because we are His, we also have overcome! Father, may Your will be done in our lives!

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” Matthew 8:21-23

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