On Faith: Warning: Heed the warningsRecently a light on my truck’s dashboard proclaimed, “Check engine.” For many people, a message like that may as well say, “Design Space Shuttle.” It’s hard to know where to begin on today’s computer equipped vehicles with crowded engine compartments. That “check engine” light to me says, “Bring to dealer for expensive solution.”
By: Pastor Joe Whiting, Grace Baptist Church, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
Recently a light on my truck’s dashboard proclaimed, “Check engine.” For many people, a message like that may as well say, “Design Space Shuttle.” It’s hard to know where to begin on today’s computer equipped vehicles with crowded engine compartments. That “check engine” light to me says, “Bring to dealer for expensive solution.”
As it turns out, my truck’s warning light was not indicating a needed repair. But having the light turned off would be expensive. My mechanic said my best solution was to just ignore the light. Ignoring a vehicle’s warning light is one thing. Ignoring the warning lights in my personal life, married life, and spiritual life is quite another. In our relationships with God and others, one of the worst things we can do is to ignore the warning signals that come our way.
We see this portrayed vividly in the world of health and medicine. How many physical illnesses become terminal because the initial warning signals were dismissed or explained away? If the warning signals had been heeded, the progress of the disease might have been treated early.
Many pastors, myself included, require premarital counseling before consenting to officiate a marriage. The reason? To identify and address potential marriage killers early. I have noticed in my pastoral counseling sessions that some married couples tend to sweep problems under the carpet with the false notion that dealing with them will only worsen the relationship. Parents too can dismiss warning signs in their children, dismissing them as phases or growing pains. We wrongly ignore the warnings and keep doing what leads to problems.
Our marriages and families do not come pre-installed with flashing red lights or sirens to alert us of a situation that needs our immediate attention. What husband on his drive home from work wouldn’t appreciate a flashing dashboard light that reads, “Warning: Wife Upset. Proceed with Caution”? Rather we have directives and assistance from God to do regular checkups in our lives.
God’s use of warnings is well documented in the scriptures. Whenever people in the Bible ignored God’s warnings, they came to a very bad end. The first family in the Bible experienced this. In Genesis 4:7, God gave Cain a gentle but firm warning to simply obey God and do the right thing. Cain ignored God’s warning, murdered his brother Abel, and suffered the consequences of his sinful choices for the rest of his life.
The greatest problem that we all have is the problem of sin. We all suffer from the disease of rebellion and disobedience. Without God’s help, it will destroy us. Thankfully, there is a cure. “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave me the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). God has provided the solution for sin through the death of His Son Jesus. When we discover problems in our lives, the first thing we should do is ask God to help us perform a self-examination to see “if there be any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:24).
The truth is, we all need regular maintenance. Our bodies need it. Our marriages need it. Our families need it. Even our churches and communities need it. Thankfully, God has provided us with His Word to equip us in taking care of these important relationships. The next time a warning light appears, don’t ignore it.
Joe offers biblical counseling for family and marriage problems.