Truth and Traffic

In my last post, I was headed after the new Mazda CX9 that blew through a stop sign just in front of me, at double the speed limit. Yes, he pulled over when he saw me coming and we had an intense little discussion. No yelling from me and no alibis from him. After all, if he’d hit me broadside at 50 mph …

It wasn’t the first time I had seen another driver purposely ignore traffic control devices. There is in our culture an “accepted” degree to which people decide to treat themselves as the exception of the moment. I’ve done it and so have you—the speed limit says 60 mph but since we’re late/anxious/choose your own rationale, we ease it up to 63 or maybe even 70 mph. Of course, we Americans draw the line at intentionally running red lights or stop signs—too dangerous to ourselves and others.

That wasn’t the case in the southern African country we lived in some years ago. I distinctly recall the first time my wife and I witnessed a flagrant disregard for the safety of others. Single lane each direction; we were stopped at a red light. In the rear view mirror, I saw an Isuzu pickup approaching rather fast. I cringed and must have cried out a warning. At the last moment, the guy veered over into the oncoming lane (which was likewise stopped for the light), zoomed around our car and the three ahead of us and shot across the intersection. He got through without hitting anyone.

So it must have been okay, right? Not really. Several times, we passed accident scenes—usually at intersections controlled by traffic lights. One car had been literally cut in half.

In each case, the driver(s) had assumed he (most were men in Third World countries) could re-define or ignore the traffic laws to suit his need of the moment. For him, that was his truth. He was impatient or felt he needed to dash ahead—right now! For cross traffic, their truth was that the green light meant they could proceed through the intersection safely. For those of us who witnessed the carnage caused by someone ignoring the law, our truth became: It’s green which means it’s okay to cross—maybe. I will always check both directions just in case.

Was that a re-definition of truth for each party? Hardly. Traffic laws were instituted for public safety and the efficient movement of traffic. Whether I choose to cut corners—an entitlement attitude, which we decry in others—or obey rules of the road religiously, truth hovers in the background. Truth is not something I can manipulate to suit my wants. Truth is … truth.

My dictionary defines truth as conformity with fact or reality.  Truth seems to be such an elusive concept. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor charged with passing sentence on Christ or releasing him, asked Jesus, “What is truth?”

How would you answer? Do we exist in a world of our own making, where each determines his or her own truth? Pundits attempt to trip unwary candidates with questions designed to show personal bias of views not in accordance with current political correctness. Questions about the biblical record of creation, gay rights, immigration, abortion, etc. The question of the moment has to do with increasing taxes on the rich, in the interest of fairness, to avoid the fiscal cliff. It’s tough being a politician.

Back to the question of truth: John the Apostle states in John 1:14, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

According to that, Jesus Christ is the summation of truth.

If that be so, how do we apply the Person of Jesus Christ to ensuring public safety and the efficient movement of traffic?

More to come … I’d like to hear from you.


About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in The Reality of God and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Truth and Traffic

  1. You have been nominated for the Sunshine Award!
    If awards aren’t your thing, that’s okay. You are under no obligation to pass it on. Just know that your words have been an inspiration to me on my blogging journey.

  2. Ken W. Durrell says:

    Hi Sam,

    The discussion in your blog about following and stopping the new Mazada that ran a stop sign certainly reminded me of our next door neighbor, Tom Higley, when we lived in Pendleton some 32 plus years ago.

    Tom sort of thought the law should apply equally to everyone. He was traveling west of Pendleton on I-84 one day when a City of Hermiston police car with two people in it went whizzing by him like he was standing still. The police car did not have any flashing lights on, and was clearly out of their jurisdiction. Tom drove a Cadillac that could keep up with most anything so he chased them down the freeway. He got a good idea of their speed from his speedometer and he flashed his headlights as he got close. The police car finally pulled over and he informed the driver he was making a citizen arrest for speeding. He got information from the guy’s drivers license and turned it in to the court authorities. The officer had to go to circuit court, pay a fine, etc. and an article about the incident was published in the Pendleton East Oregonian newspaper about the Citizen’s Arrest.. The other officer in the patrol car was the Hermiston police chief. The officers had been to court in Pendleton that day and were just returning to Hermiston, not in their jurisdiction and not in any emergency pursuit or anything.

    Tom also told about another instance where he observed a Pendleton public works employee unload a riding lawn mower from a City pickup at the employees home and begin mowing his lawn. So Tom said when he got home he called the City Manager and asked to have a riding lawn mower scheduled to be at his house the next day at 10:00 AM. He said that seemed to take care of issue of City employees using City equipment on their private property.

    Tom was a real good friend and neighbor, although we have lost touch over the years.

    I guess those things from my past memories do have something – or maybe quite a lot to do with truth and consequences.


    • samuelehall says:

      Ken, thanks for sharing these stories. I would’ve liked to have met Mr. Higley; he must have been an exceptional part of the community. You don’t forget guys like that; they’re so unusual. Actually, we should all be more careful with the truth. Proverbs 6:16-19 puts lying right in there with the taking of a life:
      There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

  3. An issue that plagues the Christian Church of today, even when it really shouldn’t. I am interested to read your future posts. Been doing a lot of reflecting on this one lately and I am glad you are taking it on.

  4. Simple – pray before you get in you car. Pray when driving your car and thank God when you safely park your car. Thank you Jesus.

    • samuelehall says:

      Duane–Basically, a life of prayer. Certainly supported by scripture. Brother Lawrence was an example; unfortunately, I’ve not even come close. When I have had an extended time of prayer, I always ask myself, “Why don’t I do this more often?”

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