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Running Red Lights
by Rubel Shelly

    London is mourning its worst train accident in a decade. They are still pulling charred and mangled bodies from the fiery wreck that occurred last Tuesday during morning rush hour in west London. It is feared that upwards of 70 people died.

    A preliminary report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says: “The immediate cause of the accident appears to be that the Thames Train passed a red signal some 700 meters before the collision point.” The same report adds that track controllers realized the outbound Thames Train had passed Signal 109 but were not able to stop the inbound First Great Western train before it struck the local commuter.

    Officials have known for a long time that Signal 109 was one of the most dangerous on the British rail lines. Poor visibility at the site has caused drivers to miss the warning light at least eight times in the past four years. This time the result was disastrous. An automatic train protection device that stops trains passing red signals was scheduled to be installed at the site by 2003.

    The HSE has now prohibited operation of Signal 109 and rerouted all trains from that track until the visibility problems are corrected. It has also ordered as many as twenty-two new controls at other signal points with high red-light violations.

“I saw it coming!”
    Reading the news reports of this terrible train wreck made me think of the “train wrecks” I’ve witnessed in human lives when people chose to run through certain red lights God put in their way. Recently it was a man who had closed his eyes to all the danger signals in an office relationship that had been getting out of control. Now it is a full-blown affair. Now it appears that he will lose his wife and two small children.

    “I saw it coming!” he told me through tears. “I thought I could keep it from doing any harm. I guess it just felt good to have my ego stroked by somebody who was pretty and young and thought I was such a great guy.” Unfortunately, I had heard his story dozens of times before. “How could I have been such a fool?” he sobbed.

    Your conscience is a God-given internal monitor for behavior. Negatively, it flashes red lights to remind you to correct something before serious harm is done. Positively, it is a spiritual compass assuring you that your are navigating within the boundaries God has set for right and wrong.

    As you start this week, resolve to honor your conscience. You don’t want to be one of those smoldering wrecks that makes the news, do you?

From Rubel Shelly's "FAX of Life" printed each Tuesday. See http://www.faithmatters.com for previous issues of the "FAX of Life."


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