Before I begin, I want to establish something. I am not perfect. Never have, and will not be until I reach Heaven. I have areas I need to work on, there are things I don't do right. I am as much a sinner as anyone else reading this. One of the worst excuses I have heard when expressing my concern to someone (and I've heard it from many) is, "Well, you did such and such, so I don't have to listen to you." NO. If everyone worked that way, improvements would never be made, and nothing would get done. The issues I will be addressing in this entry and the next few following it are things that have been popping up quite a bit in many areas of my life. They are things of great concern to me. Please keep in mind that I will be "preaching" to myself as well. When I speak about these issues, I mean it in no malice to anyone. I am approaching my fellow Christians, those redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ as I have been, as a concerned sister in Christ. If you are not saved, I am approaching you as a concerned friend. To avoid any accusations of "finger-pointing", I will not mention any names.
The age group most of my friends fall into is from 15-17 years old. For those in this age group, we have reached an exciting time. You get your permit, learn to drive, and by sixteen, sixteen and a half, most of us have our licenses. This is a time of achieving new independence with the ability to drive. The first time I held my brand-new driver's license in my hands, I felt a new sense of power and independence. No longer would I have to ask my parents to take me places. I could just hop into the car and go! I could take my friends places and we could hang out . . . wait. My mind stopped right there. In the state of Washington, one must wait six months after achieving one's license before driving alone with anyone under 21 who is not family. My excitement went down a couple notches. Then, my mind began to plan. I had heard many of my peers say that the six month law was dumb. What was the point to it? They just don't want us to have any fun! Many of my peers boasted that they weren't going to be waiting! As long as you don't get caught, it doesn't matter . . . right? Wrong. A law is a law is a law is a law. Sin is sin is sin is sin. Something I came to realize those agonizing six months was that even if I didn't get pulled over, even if my parents forgot about the law (which did happen occasionally), no matter what, God would know. Even though those six months (especially the last couple of weeks) were grueling, the wait was worth it. I can get into my car with a couple of friends and know that I am legal from all sides. I don't have to worry about being caught doing something I'm not supposed to be doing. I am doing something that is now perfectly legal for me. The last thing I want to see is one of my friends getting smacked with a fine because they chose to disobey a law they thought dumb or unnecessary. There are reasons for these restrictive laws. All the lawmakers and police officers want for teenagers is what's best, and what's best is our safety. They want you to enjoy your new-found freedom, but they also want you to be safe.
Another concern I have in the area of driving is speeding. Many drivers-and not just teens-find the speed limits signs simply suggestions. They are not. Rather, they are the law. Most police officers give a plus 5 mph cushion from the speeds written on the signs. This is because all speedometers are different and it ensures that (for the most part) a drive will not be ticketed unfairly. Note I said most; not all. But a driver should not take advantage of this cushion. Did you really get to where you were going faster just because you were going 55 or 60 instead of 50 mph? Nope. Actually, you were putting yourself and other drivers at more risk for no reason at all. The reason for the speed limits is, once again, safety. If speeds were not regulated on all roads, can you imagine the chaos that would ensue? The amount of accidents would shoot through the roof! It would be nearly impossible to drive down the road without being road-raged. The victims of most car accidents are in my age group. This is because teens are more easily distracted and are more prone to dangerous behavior because they are showing off or running late. When you follow the speed limits and other rules of the road, you show respect for fellow drivers, police officers, and our lawmakers. You show that you are concerned for your own safety and the safety of others. Most importantly, you show respect and obedience to God, who has placed authorities over us to keep us safe and to help learn right from wrong.