Beware Of Shortcuts

“People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall” (Proverbs 10:9 NLT).

A few summers ago my family took a car vacation. We loaded up our van and headed out for an adventure. Our only goal was to see the western half of the United States. By the end of our two week trip, we’d put over 5,000 miles on the odometer.

For most of the trip we simply focused on enjoying the journey rather than rushing toward a destination. But in one of the states we traveled through (which will remain unnamed) we were so bored with the scenery that I got the bright idea of taking a shortcut to the next major town.

Looking at the map, the road for the shortcut appeared just fine—a straight shot to the next town. It could save us about an hour of traveling time. So we got off the beaten path and took the alternative route.  

Big mistake! The road was fraught with difficulties:

• Construction work . . .
• A line of slow trucks that we couldn’t pass . . .
• Cattle (then sheep) in the middle of the road . . .
• Potholes the size of meteor craters, and . . .
• No gas station or restroom!

The bottom line: my proposed shortcut ended up taking longer, we nearly ran out of gas, and I had a very cranky family!

The lesson: Shortcuts are not always as good as they may seem. Sometimes the shortest distance to a goal is not a beeline.  

We’re often tempted to cut corners in order to speed things up or make a greater profit. But ethical shortcuts, or short-changing someone else, will always come back to haunt us. The Bible warns us: “People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall” (Proverbs 10:9 NLT).

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