Life’s traffic lights
The scene was horrifying. The traffic lights at the intersection were all working. When the green turned red, we all stopped to allow the traffic on the main road to flow. But when the red turned green to allow us to move on, something dreadful happened.
One driver on the other side, apparently impatient or maybe absented-minded, failed to stop for us and rather drove right on, clashing badly into vehicles. The result was mangled metal, sinews, flesh, and the outpouring of blood.
What happened? The driver failed to stop when the traffic light turned red—that is what happened. Refusing to follow simple instructions like that can result in deadly devastations.
What I’ve just said sounds like road traffic talk, but it is more than that. If we agree that life is a journey, and journeys are embarked upon like a road, then it stands to reason that life has its own traffic lights indicating when to stop and when to move on.
Let’s examine some of these life’s traffic lights, starting from the beginning.
In the beginning, God Almighty told our first parents, “Eat every fruit in the garden except this one!” Now that instruction was red light, and our first parents should have brought their vehicle to a stop as far as that tree and its fruit were concerned.
By moving on to eat the forbidden fruit instead of stopping, they crashed badly into sin, causing humanity to crash with them. The result? Spiritual bankruptcy, physical death, wickedness, wars, diseases, hunger, and the never-ending battle with the forces of darkness.
Red means stop!
Here is another example: Many young people today, including those in the church, have crashed into the red light of substance and sexual abuse.
The instruction says: flee immorality and substance abuse because your body is the temple of God. That is a red-light directive, which means “stop!”
Instead of stopping, what do we see? A mad rush into immorality and misuse of substances with reckless abandon, leading to mental and moral breakdown.
Of course, I know many young people who have read about how a youth could keep their way pure. “By guarding it according to the Word of God,” says Psalm 119:9, 11.
The Word of God contains red and green lights. By keeping these lights in our heart and following them, we avoid crashes.
Red light districts
Strangely, the area where sex trade goes on is called “red light district.” I went past one in Amsterdam some years back and couldn’t believe what I saw.
Here at home, there are many red-light districts located at several enclaves, particularly in the cities.
Those are no-go places, but some people have driven on and broken their moral fortitude, infecting their families with diseases as Adam and Eve did to humanity.
Corrupted red light
Those who think our beloved country is on a dangerous path to serious economic meltdown also recognise that the red light of corruption said, “Stop! Danger ahead!”
Whenever I listen to discussions on economic management of our nation, I hear panelists reveal serious decisions and actions that resemble red lights.
Any decision that is not consistent with prudent economic management is a red-light warning which means “stop!” But controlled by factors such as personal gain, greed, and lack of patriotism, decision-makers can run through the red lights, resulting in economic crash.
Light from within
Warnings and signals located in our consciences are guides that help us regulate our conduct, just as traffic lights on the road help us avoid crashes.
On daily basis, as we make decisions, we need to stop, ponder over issues, and determine which direction to take.
For example, if our intended action is based on pride, the light turns red; but when our action is humility-based, it turns green. When hatred turns on the red light, we stop until the green light of love comes on.
Lust is red light, but purity is green. So, when the TV or mobile phone displays pornography, we know it is red light and a no-go area.
Instinctively, we are capable of differentiating between red-light conversation and green-light talk. If we talk ill about others, the red light within us signals “stop!” But compliments, kind words, and gentle talk about others turn on the green light.
These signals, which must be in agreement with scripture, guide us into the heavy traffic of daily living.
The psalmist David knew how much God’s Word turns red and green to guide him along the way. He put it this way: “Your Word is light for my path and a lamp to my feet” (Psalm 119:105).
Whether for our path or our feet, the light of God’s Word may be “red—stop!” or “green—go!” Blessed are those who heed these traffic lights of life, for they will avoid dangerous crashes.
The writer is a publisher, author, writer-trainer and CEO of Step Publishers.