A Rolling Stop (Proverbs 15:3)

I drive my car and approach a stop sign or traffic light, intending to make a right turn. I am in a rush and instead of lawfully making a complete stop, then inching forward, I slow down, as if intending to stop, then proceed to make the right turn.


I’ve just committed a rolling stop.


It is illegal but it seems that nearly everyone does this sometime in their driving. Only an actual traffic ticket will put an end to this, or so I thought. My first ticket for a rolling stop happened when I was in medical school. I thought I learned my lesson. But after a few years, I was back to my old habits. I did a rolling stop again in front of a hospital where I was training as a medical resident. Fortunately, the police officer was merciful and when he saw my white medical coat, he let me off the hook with a warning. Now, many years later, I am riding in the car with my daughter, a newly licensed driver. She is very careful to never make a rolling stop. And when she is the passenger, I make sure that I strictly observe all traffic laws, including not making a rolling stop.


But what about when no one is in the car with me? What about when I am in a deserted and sleeping residential neighborhood at 5AM? There are no cars on the streets and no pedestrians crossing. These thoughts crossed my mind one morning as I commuted to work. But just as I was about to commit my crime, I spotted something and quickly made a complete stop. Sure enough! After I stopped and then proceeded to make a right turn, I saw a police car parked under a tree in the supermarket parking lot across the street. It was 5AM and I would never have expected a police car waiting at this interaction at this time. Thankfully I obeyed the law. But just a few seconds later, I saw another car  behind me make a rolling stop. Instantly the flashing lights confirmed my suspicions, the police officer was there to adroitly trap careless drivers who willfully flaunted the law and make a rolling stop.


The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Proverbs 15:3 (NKJV)


This rolling stop is a simple and seemingly harmless example of how I convince myself that some of my sins are small and inconsequential. I smugly think that no one is watching and therefore my sins are not hurting anyone. But God is always watching. My sins are a disobedience against God, and big or small, when I willfully commit the sin, I deny Jesus’ lordship over my life and His sacrifice for me. I nail Him to the Cross with each sin I commit.


How many times must I relearn the same lessons of a rolling stop? It is a symptom of my sinful nature. Thanks be to God that His patience with me is not limited by how many times I disappoint Him. I am grateful for His grace and mercy to me through His Son, Jesus Christ. He convicts me through His Holy Spirit and gives me the strength and perseverance to seek His forgiveness and ask Him to change my life.


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.