Restraint is an imporant life lesson for all of us

Published 12:02 am Saturday, March 7, 2015

The first thing I do when I get in my car is reach over my left shoulder, pull the seat belt across my body and fasten the metal clip in the slot.

I don’t want to drive until the click tells me I’m secure.

I admit I haven’t always buckled up.

Like others who don’t wear them, I had my excuses.

I used to say seat belts were uncomfortable and too confining.

They wrinkle my clothes, I’d complain.

Or I’d be in a hurry and never think about the safety factor.

I let my excuses overrule the fact I know seat belts save lives.

You’ve probably heard the crash statistics.

For instance, during a typical year almost half the people killed in car or truck accidents are not wearing seat belts.

Seat belt usage in Alabama has reportedly increased to 97 percent, largely as a result of Alabama’s primary restraint law and the Click It or Ticket enforcement and education campaigns.

I started buckling up, not just because it is a state law, but also because I heard about a minister’s personal experience.

His car was hit from behind at an intersection while waiting for a red light. He said he would have been killed if he had not been wearing his seat belt.

He made a believer out of me. Since then, I feel like something’s missing if I don’t buckle up. Not feeling the restraint of the seat belt makes me feel unprotected in my car. What used to feel confining is now comforting.

There’s a lesson to be learned about restraint, spiritually speaking. We live in a society that doesn’t seem to want any restraint; and I’m not just talking about people who refuse to wear their seat belt. There’s an obvious lack of moral restraint that threatens the safety of our society.

Author Ron Mehl’s book, titled “The Ten(der) Commandments,” says the Ten Commandments are often portrayed as ominous warnings instead of 10 declarations of God’s love for us.

He writes, “Have you ever heard of the Ten Commandments described as a love letter… a tender, heart-felt message from the very hand of God? Perhaps not. Yet, I’ve become convinced it is one of the most powerful expressions of God’s love in all of Scripture.”

For example, when God said, “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15), He was not just warning thieves; but He was protecting the rest of us from having something valuable stolen by them.

God commanded, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), not just to forbid illicit relationships, but because He knew its destructiveness to marriages and to children of divorced parents. Immorality of any kind puts a person at risk for dangerous diseases.

“Every law that God has given has been for man’s benefit. If man breaks it, he is not only rebelling against God, he is hurting himself,” Billy Graham once said. Loving God means keeping his commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. His Word promises, “Keep my commands and live.” (Proverbs 7:2).

Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at