For nearly the past two weeks, my family and I have been on an epic road trip out west. We’re talking over 4,000 miles, 12 states, four national parks, over 80 hours in the car and countless memories ranging from St. Louis to the Pacific and back again. By the grace of God, no one got left behind at any gas stations and everyone had a great time (at least that’s what they tell me to my face).
I also noticed a lot of signs along the way. Some of these were for car bingo, but to be honest, I was noticing a lot more after getting a fun souvenir in Oregon – but let’s not talk about that too much, I’m still a little salty about that one. Most of them, were the important “don’t go faster than this” variety, but one on the interstate of southwestern Wyoming caught my attention – “Caution: Road Damage”. Mind you, this was not a construction zone or backroad. It was a sign, in the middle of the interstate seeming to offer a reminder that there were problems, but rather than fixing it – they just put up a sign.
One sign on the interstate of southwestern Wyoming caught my attention – “Caution: Road Damage”.
I couldn’t help but consider the truth of this sign. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but this was after days and hours on the road. I had time on my side, and could afford to ponder this interesting sign for a few miles. How often do we do this in our own lives? Rather than, putting in the work to create a change we know will make things better, we simply offer an excuse, we diminish the issue, or worse, label other people the problem… Whatever the method, the outcome is the same – we put up a confusing sign of warning.
As followers of Jesus, this is a real problem. Jesus is never willing to settle for feeble excuses. Jesus always calls us to action. This is particularly true in His call to unity between believers. We are called to be one in the same way that Jesus and the Father are one (John 17). That is a high calling. It’s more than just being tolerant or polite – we are to be single-minded. This is not easy and takes real work. Work that we cannot simply excuse our way out of with a sign.
Jesus is never willing to settle for feeble excuses.
Jesus always calls us to action.
Before we even think about our witness to those outside the Church, Jesus asks us to get our relationships with one another right. This isn’t a gentle call, but a hearty reminder to put in the real work to be a body unified. A body showing love to one another in a way that calls attention from onlookers. Jesus understood the mixed signals that excuses send. He didn’t call us to put up a sign indicating our problems, He always calls us to tackle them head on and unity of the body is at the top of the list.
- What excuses do people make that make you most frustrated?
- What is an excuse you make, that you know you would be better off correcting rather than excusing?
- Who is another Christian in your life that you have difficulty seeing through the lens of love and unity? Why?
What would it take for you to make peace with this person? What’s holding you back?