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Keith Wishum: The right way is the best way

As a man was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Frank, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on the Interstate. Please be careful!”

“It’s not just one car,” said Frank. “It’s hundreds of them!”

You can probably sympathize with Frank about going the wrong way. It’s not even too hard to understand why Frank wouldn’t recognize that he was the one going the wrong way. We tend to assume that we are right and that everybody else is wrong. We cause a lot of collisions in our relationships that way.

For example, my wife once had a tough time admitting that she had lost the paperwork we needed to purchase more minutes for her prepaid cell phone. Concerned only for the well-being of my family (Surely, you couldn’t expect us to survive without a cell phone!), I reminded her repeatedly that I had given the papers to her. For two days, I hounded her to find those papers. She stubbornly denied having ever seen them. What a test of my patience!

And then I found them. In my book bag! Right where I had put them. For two days, I had been headed the wrong way, insisting all the way that it was my wife in the wrong lane. It’s a tribute to her ability to avoid marital collisions that I lived to tell about it.

It is easy to be wrong, but still think you are right. Easy, but deadly. We understand that on the interstate. Yet, in a multi-cultural society where we value diversity and tolerance, we have trouble accepting the notion that there can be only one best way to live.

God, however, says it’s so. His son posted a one-way sign to caution us: “I am the way and the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14: 6). That’s not being mean. It’s not disrespectful. The “One Way” sign is for our benefit. Things turn out much better when we’re headed the right way.

The good news is that the remedy for going the wrong way in life is as simple as the solution for driving the wrong way on the interstate: just turn around. Our Father invites us to go his way and discover how much more enjoyable the ride can be.

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.