"We urge you, our friends, to warn..."
"We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people." (I Thessalonians 5:14-15)
A couple of years ago Patti and I were driving through one of the western states with our two Boston terriers. It was time for all of us to take a break and stretch our legs, so we pulled into a rest area where it looked as though we could walk our dogs. As we drove into the parking lot we saw the sign in the picture above. We not only heeded the sign's warning by not leaving the sidewalks, we didn't even get out the car and use the sidewalks. Off we went for the next rest stop we could find without such an ominous warning. The truth is that many times we heed warnings, but many times we disregard them. I wonder why we dismiss the well-intentioned warnings of others and find ourselves falling into the "holes" they warned us to avoid?
A couple of days ago Patti and I were driving through a town in Pennsylvania when we both were startled to see a sign by the road that read: "SPEED TRAP AHEAD." Now stop and think about that for a moment. The same folks who set a trap for us are warning us about the trap? Did the town find that so many folks disregarded the more typical sort of sign that usually reads something like, "Speed Checked by Radar," that they decided to take pity on the would-be speeders and ticket-receivers by posting a more blatant sign like, "SPEED TRAP AHEAD?" What does it take to get us to pay attention and trust the warnings?
We've almost conditioned ourselves to disregard warnings, resulting in our experiencing more hurt and hardship for ourselves and others. God sends us many warnings through folks like the Apostle Paul who wrote the message in the letter to the Thessalonians I quoted above. The warnings are intended to build us up and to help us avoid tearing down ourselves and others. I pray that God will give me the awareness, good sense, and fortitude to heed his warnings. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
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