I was traveling an unfamiliar road a few weeks ago. Being in Illinois, it was straight and flat enough, but the road hadn’t been paved in some time. It was in bad need of repair. At one particular point in the trip I noticed a yellow caution sign on the side of the road. As I got closer I read it. “Bump.”
They weren’t kidding! Potholes covered the next several feet as huge chunks of asphalt were missing. I guess I should have been more appreciative of the warning sign but still I wondered, why didn’t they just fix the road?
I don’t know much about road maintenance, but I’m pretty sure that putting up a sign is cheaper than putting down new asphalt. All you have to do is get a sign and put it up in the right spot. It becomes incumbent upon the driver to read the sign and respond accordingly.
If there’s any real cost it’s to the driver that doesn’t heed the warning—they’ll be responsible for the blown tire or messed up suspension.
We are sometimes like those old roads. Over time we develop our trouble spots. Maybe it’s a little bitterness here, a hurt feeling there. Maybe there are potholes in our character. Potholes like gossip or envy or jealousy. These spots need to be repaired and it takes a lot of work. It just becomes easier for us to put up “Bump” signs.
You’ve seen those kind of “Bump” signs, right? Usually they’re whispered to us by others who made the mistake of not recognizing them. “Don’t bring up politics with him.” “Don’t talk to her about forgiveness.” “Make sure you stay on his good side.”
And if we miss the “Bump” sign the only real expense is to the person who didn’t see it. Their feelings, their relationships, their confidence, their joy.
I can’t help but notice that Jesus didn’t have any “Bump” signs, and therefore his followers shouldn’t have them either. Instead we’re called to repair those rough spots in our lives with Christ-like character. We pave the potholes of our hearts with the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
We mend the bridges of our relationships with the peace, love and forgiveness that Paul tells us of in Colossians 3:13-15. “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
The beautiful thing about these repairs is that Jesus isn’t just the Great Physician, he’s the Great Road Commissioner! Philippians 2:12-13 tells us, “Work out your own salvation (that is, live like you’re saved) with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and work for his good pleasure.”
God’s not in the business of putting up “Bump” signs. He’s in the business of making you just like Jesus. It’s time to tear down the “Bump” signs and let God get to work.