Exercising Caution at Life’s Crossroads
Have you ever cruised through a yellow light at an intersection? Of course, most of us have at one time or another. Sometimes, the changing light catches us off guard, and we have no choice but to proceed through the intersection. Other times, we are in a hurry, so we press our luck and push through, hoping that no one is trying to get a head start from the other direction.
Caution lights actually require us to stop, according to the strictest letter of the law, but most people don’t get pulled over unless they clearly go through when the light is red. Still, stopping while the light is yellow indicates an abundance of caution and assures that there will not be a collision at the intersection.
All of this begs the question about yellow caution lights in our daily lives — the ones you can’t see but know are there. Would it not be best for us to stop at every figurative intersection in life to ponder our options while ensuring safety for all concerned?
The Bible offers plenty of instruction when it comes to caution, including this passage from the New Living Translation of Proverbs 14:16-18, which states, “The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence. Short-tempered people do foolish things, and schemers are hated. Simpletons are clothed with foolishness, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.”
How fitting this passage is for today’s chaotic environment. The more cautious we are, the more likely we are to avoid danger. However, some will say that the really successful people are the ones who take risks and throw caution to the wind. I suppose there is a time and a place for both approaches, but for the most part, exercising caution is the most prudent way to go.
The passage also addresses the danger of being short-tempered, thus ignoring the well-known passage from the Book of James, which advises us to be “slow to anger.” When people “fly off the handle” and act out of emotion, they almost invariably regret their words and their actions.
So, what do we do when we approach the next figurative intersection — the one that requires us to be careful and make wise decisions? Well, we learned that lesson many years ago when our parents first showed us how to cross the street: Pause, look both ways, and proceed with caution.
Simple enough, but often ignored by adults who should know better. It would be wise for all of us to slow down and use the discretion that God has given to us before we speak or prepare to make an important decision.
Of course, slowing down requires patience — a virtue that seems to be in very short supply these days. Perhaps that’s why Psalm 27:14 repeats itself when it states, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
Take your time. Be cautious and be courteous at the next intersection. It is the safest and most sensible approach to driving and to life itself.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John