COLUMN: Crossing the yellow line

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The other day I was heading down the road and came around a corner and someone was coming at me on my side of the road. He wasn’t passing anyone; he was just way over in my lane around a blind curve. I hit my brakes and got over as far as I could. I don’t think he even saw me until it was almost too late, but he managed to get over just enough.
Needless to say, my heart was beating a little faster as I headed on down the road looking at those two yellow lines. Not much there really, just ribbons of paint laying flat on the ground. Yet those little ribbons generally manage to get us safely home if we pay attention to them.
We don’t even feel it when we cross those lines, but on one side we are safe, on the other we have entered the danger zone. When I stray over the line, I put my life at risk, but I also risk the lives of others. And it can happen in a flash, suddenly another car is there and there is no way out. One second zooming along right as rain, the next sheer terror closing at 100 miles an hour.
God’s word is like that in a way. It keeps us safe when we pay attention to it, but most of us treat it as just words on a page. The parts we like we obey and follow, the parts we don’t agree with, or the parts that cramp our style, well we just ignore them. We cross the line and pretend there will be no consequences.
Proverbs says, “The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires” (Proverbs 11:6 NIV). Righteousness, or right living, means living in obedience and staying in our own lane. We all cross the line from time to time, but do you see what it says about being trapped? When we ignore God’s word, pretend the lines don’t exist, we get ensnared by a lifestyle that dishonors God and destroys us as well.
Have you ever had a friend making poor choices and thought, “He’s heading for a crash?” That is exactly what God’s word says. In Romans, Paul puts it this way, “For the wages of sin is death.” That means the crash is coming. But Paul concludes, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV). There is hope in Christ if we will only trust him.
Have you ever found yourself on the wrong side of the road? I have, and I quickly try to get back on my side. We all wander from time to time. If you’ve crossed the line, get back on the right side and start over again with Jesus. Even if you crossed the line a long time ago, there is still hope; the gift of God in Christ is still available to you. Simply trust him and come safely home.