Stop Sign Theology

The nature of people can be examined from many different ways. When a person speaks he may suggest where he is from in geography. The way a person dresses may say a lot about their character. Personalities tell a lot about a person. Attitudes exemplify the character of a person. Interacting with a stop sign will also say a lot about a person.

The red octagon sign at intersections is designed for a specific purpose: it tells the driver to stop before proceeding through the intersection. A stop sign is to help the flow of traffic and to keep order in the passage of motor vehicles from one point to another. Accidents often happen at these intersections when the big red sign is either ignored or unseen. When the sign reads STOP, it really means to come to a standstill or cease moving. The way some people treat stop signs says a lot about how people think about law. This is especially true at multiple stop sign areas.

There is the "I do not care" person who approaches the stop sign and never slows down but continues through the intersection without pausing. They feel empowered to ignore safety and law and rush through the crossroads. Why do they drive in this manner? Law does not mean much to them. As long as a law enforcement officer is not present, they will do as they wish to do. There are many people like that when it comes to God's word. They view God's word as a burden and hindrance and they totally ignore its teachings. Paul described these people in Romans 1:21, "Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

Then there are those who are the "I slowed down" stop-sign-runner who will pause for a second before continuing through the intersection. They have done a little better than the blatant breaker of law because they have a little conscience about the fact they do not plan to stop. (Of course they could be slowing down to look for law enforcement and seeing none continue through.) They are law-breakers also because they fail to stop. Sometimes people handle the world of God like that. They read it enough to make them feel better but do not regard a full commitment as necessary. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).

The person who respects the law and seeks to follow the traffic patterns for safety stops at each intersection marked with a red 8-sided sign. Here is the attitude of a person who regardless of what he may think of the law respects the charge to follow the rules. This person will show an example of faithfulness in their obedience to the whole counsel of God. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3). What he believes is established upon the old adage: "Speak where the Bible speaks; silent where the Bible is silent"

Attitudes toward the word of God will determine how a person will obey the law of God. People may look at the Bible as simply a book of burdensome laws they are unwilling to subject themselves too. Others look at the Bible with a casual approach that as long as some of what they believe is in the Bible they seem satisfied. The faithful steward will be the one who accepts the truth of the Bible for what it is and willingly subjects themselves to every stop sign, every yield sign, every speed limit sign - "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears" (1 Samuel 3:9). What do you do at stop signs?

Kent Heaton

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