White lines on the road

It never ceases to amaze me as I observe the behaviour of fellow passengers at an airport. It seems to me that there are a number of people who believe the rules for travelling that are set out by the airlines do not actually apply to them. The limits on baggage, which rows are being called up to board, how much space in the overhead locker you are permitted to utilise.

I have been on a flight where the announcement came to stow laptops until the plane was airborne, and the man sitting next to me either didn’t realise the large rectangular object he was typing on was referred to as a laptop, or simply decided the rule was not applicable for his situation.

These are all minor infringements in the grand scheme of things but I notice that, in general, people are not favourable to being told what to do.

What is it about these simple requests that invites civilised compliance to be discarded? It is as if the moment you ask someone NOT to do something, that is the exact thing that they do.

The same principle applies when you are giving instructions to a child. Instead of saying “Don’t drop that!” it is far better to say “Carry that carefully.” Why? Straight away the brain is cued to focus on the command. When they key word is ‘drop’ that is often what happens, when the key word is ‘carefully’ THAT is what happens.

In the Bible are a number of rules that are shared to help us live our lives well with others. They are known as the 10 commandments and can be found in Exodus chapter 20. They are often referred to as the ‘Shalt nots’ because 9 of the 10 tell us what not to do.

They were once explained to me as being like the white lines on the road. Yes, the lines are there to tell us which side NOT to drive on, but when we all follow the white lines we are all safe and arrive at our destination.  When people choose to ignore these rules, there for our safety, they put themselves and others in harm’s way.

The exact same thing can be said for the 10 commandments. They are written for our safety and the best hope for a harmonious life. Consider for a moment how much better our society would be if everyone embraced the principles held in that teaching.

Here’s an exercise for you to try … Look up the passage in the Bible and try turning the statements around. Instead of reading a ‘don’t’ statement, flip it about to a ‘do’. And please remain seated until the seatbelt sign is turned off!

Be blessed.

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