In recent weeks there have been a couple of interesting road projects in the Atlanta area which have been prominent in the local news.
One involved allowing regular traffic to use the shoulder lane along a busy stretch of highway. Normally, that part of the road is reserved for emergency vehicles or to be used by those dealing with such problems as traffic accidents or flat tires.
Drivers often encounter signs along the interstate reminding them of the restricted use of those lanes. But now, only during the height of rush hour on one specific highway, commuters can legally venture into that lane which has always been a forbidden zone for most of us.
The other project consisted of creating what has been referred to as a "diamond interchange." It's located in a congested area of a roadway and bridge where drivers are trying to enter and exit an interstate.
The traffic pattern has been altered so that vehicles must travel in an "X-shaped" manner as they cross that bridge. So for a brief span, they are actually traveling on what I've heard many describe as "the wrong side of the road."
In other words, drivers travel in the left lanes while opposing traffic passes them in the right lanes.
There have been fears that such changes in normal driving habits will confuse people and cause more problems than they solve. There have also been concerns that making exceptions to such longstanding laws for specific timeframes or locations might encourage people to drive similarly at other times, when it's not allowed. I guess time will tell.
Those projects remind me of a couple of similarities regarding us and God.
For one thing, we live in a world that is trying to change the rules of the road when it comes to long-held standards of right and wrong. We're being told that it's acceptable to behave in certain ways, even though the Bible refers to such actions as sin.
We're taught that it's OK to drive on what used to be thought of as "the wrong side of the road" in life.
The problem is that the One who created those standards hasn't changed them. What He said 2,000 years ago about right and wrong still holds true today.
Teaching people that those God-ordained morals are outdated or invalid will only lead to a confused generation. Without those absolutes to guide us, people will all go their own way, destined to make a mess of their lives and one day to stand before God to account for their disobedience.
The other similarity I see is when some people think that their particular stretch of road in life is exempt from God's usual standard of right and wrong.
"I know that normally adultery is wrong, but I've fallen in love with this other person and I know God wants me to be happy," some may say.
People will use similar reasoning to justify any of a host of wrong actions or attitudes, such as lying, cheating, gossiping, seeking revenge and whatever else it is in which they choose to indulge.
Once we start down that road of seeing ourselves and our case as exceptions to God's rules, we can find it to be that proverbial slippery slope from which it's hard to return.
We'll see if the unique changes the Department of Transportation is making in these locations will be helpful.
But it's never a good thing to ignore or forsake God's laws about right and wrong. His absolutes have not changed, regardless of what our society may say and no matter what situation it is in which we find ourselves.
If we disobey what God says, we'll always find ourselves traveling on the wrong side of the road.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.