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How red was it?

Staff Member
How Red Was It?

A few months back I took my "extra" son, Zach, to take his driver's test. Zach seems to be very aware of the responsibility that comes with driving. During our hours on the back streets practicing for that crucial test drive, I was especially impressed with his meticulous use of his turn signals. It inspired me to be a better driver.

While awaiting his turn on the big day, I struck up a conversation with one of the driving examiners. We traded some humorous stories about driving.

I shared a story I'd heard a few months earlier about a driving instructor who was giving three girls driving lessons. One of the girls did especially well, then switched places with one of the girls in the back seat. After the second girl drove a few minutes the instructor noticed she wasn't using her turn signals properly. He said, "Before you make a turn, you need to let the people behind you know what you're going to do." Without missing a beat the young driver turned to the two girls in the back seat and said, "I'm going left at this next corner."

Zach's driving examiner told about a young man who went through a red light without stopping during his road test. The examiner told him that he had automatically failed the test and to immediately return to the test center.

On returning they met up with the young man's mother and the examiner explained what had happened. At first she was speechless. Then she asked incredulously, "He ran a red light?"

"Yes," the examiner replied.

"Well," persisted the mom, "how red was the light?"

In my work with a local ministry group I often run into people who feel that way about God's laws. We have ten commandments that are pretty straight-forward and about as simple as you can get. Yet, people rationalize their way around situations involving the ten commandments every day. It's called situational ethics. We, as humans, find ways to rationalize and convince ourselves that we didn't really break a commandment. And, yes, I catch myself doing it too.

I had a friend who got in trouble with his wife because word got back to her that the guy had been having extended lunches with a female co-worker. How red was the light? At the very least it was yellow. The guy now faces a tough time working through this integrity issue and trying to reestablish trust with his wife.

I've concluded that if we're careful not to run yellow lights, we're not likely to run red lights, no matter how red they are. That applies to life as well as driving.