“I’m a real fan of all the traffic laws and I instantly and completely obey each traffic directive that I see.”…said NO one I’ve ever heard. Traffic laws may be the most broken set of legalities in our American society. Something tells me we’re not alone. In fact, there’s a conversation in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun that makes me laugh each time I hear it:
Frances: “Do traffic lights mean anything around here?”
Marcello: “Sure! Green light–Avanti! Avanti! Yellow light–a decoration.”
Frances: “And what about red lights?”
Marcello: “Just a suggestion!”…as he zips through a red-lighted intersection forcing another car to brake suddenly.
I thought about that movie moment yesterday when the driver of a small black car–obviously in a hurry to get home and be there in case the Publisher’s Clearing House people were on her doorstep with a giant check–applied significant pressure to her gas pedal and floored her little automobile past the Yield sign to cut me off and proceed at top speed onto the local by-pass, zigging and zagging in between other vehicles whose drivers were silly enough to be in her way, as well. It’s not the first time that’s happened to me lately and after some seriously short consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that people just don’t like that word.
Yield: according the online Merriam Webster dictionary, it means, among other things, “to give way to or become succeeded by someone or something else” or “to surrender or submit (oneself) to another.”
Not only do people not like that word, they dislike the actual act of yielding, as well. In our “me first!” society, yielding is often the last thing we consider and yet, it carries great wisdom for us in so many different situations. Far from being just good manners–which every genteel Southern-born woman knows is key to conquering all things–the invocation to yield holds a spiritual context, as well.
Without it, our salvation would be up to us…and then where would we be? Imagine, for a second, that Jesus had refused to yield to His Father’s plan to save the world and provide a way for us to be with Him forever. Oh, the implications!
Throughout our lives as Christians–and genteel southerners–we’re called to put others ahead of ourselves. Doing so doesn’t mean we’re less worthy. It means we’re more secure. It means we’re able to look out for the interests and safety of others while resting in the knowledge that God Himself is watching out for our own best interests. Choosing to yield is not a sign of weakness. It is often a sign of strength. It shows consideration for the health and well-being of those around us…whether they’re in cars or not. It is a sign of maturity. It is a sign of self-control. It is a sign of following Christ.
Will you yield?
(Writer’s addendum: Oh, how I love it when God makes me teach myself! Please know that my own often-warped sense of entertainment knows no bounds at this moment because God had me write this today during a time when my greatest desire is to let some of my extensive vocabulary loose in a particular direction. Yielding to my frustrated personal inclinations at this moment will not allow me to represent my God well. Yielding to Him, on the other hand, strengthens my resolve to become more like His Son. It is the deliberate walking out of a choice made long ago. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”–even yield.)