Friday Discussion: Should Christians Flash Lights?

A reader sent me a great question recently. He wrote: Do you think Christians should flash their lights to warn of cars on the road of an approaching radar patrol or police car?

I don’t know…but I think it’s a good question. I thought I’d let you help answer.

What do you think?

Do you think this is a gray area or is it cut and dry?

How do you make decisions for situations like this?

Are there other issues like this where you think Christians have to think through in this way?

Related Posts

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

More posts by Ron Edmondson

Join the discussion 27 Comments

  • BushMaid says:

    Love covers a multitude of sins. 🙂

  • Dale Jennings says:

    What would Jesus do?

  • Randall says:

    I have a hard time thinking God is concerned about someone blinking the car lights….but I could very well be mistaken ! Just as spitting in public (in some places) is illegal, I really don't think God would punish a person for disobeying this man made law. Before you reply, think of this…Your child has a life threating injury and you are speeding to the emergency room…. A wasp flies into your mouth and you spit it out…. Does this change how a Christian would react and does it change it from being right or wrong ? Just curious on everyone's answer.

  • […] I was reading a blog post where the writer asked if it was wrong for a Christian to flash their lights at other drivers on the highway warning them that there was a speed trap up ahead. There was a good […]

  • free links says:

    Greatings,
    he pensado y ha quitado el mensaje
    http://easyddl.cz.cc/
    Edwas

  • It all depends on our interior motives. Whether it is to evade law keepers or to awaken someone ?

  • Kelly says:

    @Brian Dodd…that's something to think about., the flashing at speeding drivers thing. If I was speeding (not that I ever do, of course *bats eyelashes innocently*) I would appreciate the reminder.

  • Please continue to flash your lights to me

  • Brian Dodd on Leadership says:

    Ron,

    I think anything we can do to help people learn good practices we should do. I think a bigger question we should be asking is when we see someone speeding and putting others in danger, why not flash our lights then?

    Once again, anything we can do to improve the quality of human life we should do.

    Thanks

  • DavidP says:

    What if we reword the question? "If you thought someone was doing something wrong or illegal, would you try to let them know they should be careful before they get caught? Or, should you let them get caught because they deserve it?"

    I think in that case it would be kind to try and let people know that they are headed for trouble if they don't change their ways. And trouble happens to be 1/2 mile ahead of them.

    Now, as someone pointed out above, if there are laws that say you are not supposed to flash your lights in warning, then the answer is obvious. You should obey the law.

  • David says:

    I respect police officers and the work they do and I think most of them know better than I do how to keep the public safe. If one of their tools for public safety is a speed check then I don't want to interfere with that. I'll leave the policing up to the experts and try to be the best pastor I can.

    If you need a biblical reason then Paul's comments on eating meats offered to idols is a good reference. The meat offered to idols was no different than the sirloin down the street at the market but some people thought it was and wrong to eat it. So… Paul said take the high road.

    Even though it's not illegal in most states to flash I think the general consensus is that we're helping someone "get away with something." I think we should take the high road and protect our integrity.

  • Renee says:

    Wow people have REALLY thought this through! LOL I DO flash my lights driving down Madison street past wal-mart on a weekly basis because there are ALWAYS speed traps there. People flash their lights at me before I hit it and after I pass it, I flash mine for others. I think speed traps are cruel, personally. I always thank the people who warn me and usually get waves of thanks from others when I do it. It's a nice thing to do. 🙂

  • alszambrano says:

    I agree with Keep God First – we are responsible for obeying the laws of our society; I think that we should actively encourage those within our influence to obey the traffic laws, but I don't think that we should warn them of an impending speed trap to save them a ticket. God doesn't call us to "good behavior" or "not getting caught" – He calls us to repentance and an understanding of Christ's sacrificial work that then LEADS us to good behavior.

    Simply flashing our lights at someone as a warning is only calling them to temporary good behavior so that they don't get caught. Isn't that counterintuitive to the Gospel message?

  • Keep God First says:

    I don't think it is ever acceptable to do this. Drivers training manuals tell us not to (can temporarily blind the oncoming driver), and police have the authority to give us a ticket for doing it (obstruction of justice). If we are truly concerned about a speeding car and subsequent safety issues, we can pull over, call the police and give a report rather than sin by doing what is contrary to the authorities God has placed over us. From human logic, many speeding drivers are not lacking awareness of their habit and have plenty of signs to remind or warn, but choose to ignore them… So I don't think flashing lights will do what a ticket would to deter the problem.

  • garunn says:

    I tend to agree with Jason-well thought through.

  • kris says:

    If a kid were acting up and I warned him to settle down and that prevented him from bigger trouble bc he heeded my warning it would be a good thing. Telling someone, “you’re about to get it if you don’t watch it” could be considered accountability. But so could allowing the natural consequences. I think it has everything to do with the intention if the flasher. If his goal is just to “stick it to the man” then I say-flashing privileges denied;-)

  • Jon says:

    I think it depends. Routinely police set up speed traps in my neighborhood. I appreciate that because there is a through street that many people take that starts out at 40 MPH and when it gets to our neighborhood drops to 25. Now, I'm not sure that I agree with the 25, but 40 is too fast. If I'm going through there and there is a cop doing the speed thing I will flash my lights at an on coming car if it appears that they are at least attempting to watch their speed. If I saw someone totally disregarding the speed limit, I'd just let them get caught.

  • Kelly says:

    This question reminds me of something my 16 yr old daughter did in school. She had a couple of assignments where she allowed other students to use her answers. Cheating had never been an issue for her, and when she freely told me about it, I had to laugh. She was "cheating" the way a kid who loves Jesus would cheat, seeing it as being okay because it helped others. She knew that taking someone else's answers was wrong. But she was GIVING them away. Her heart was in the right place, but in her youth and inexperience she didn't see that "giving" answers was encouraging others to cheat. Did she do wrong in God's eyes? In her heart, she was wanting to bless her friends. God looks at the heart. But still, I had to tell her that she's not allowed to share her answers, and that there are long-term consequences for the other students. Plus, it's not allowed, and she needs to obey the law of the classroom.

    I guess this issue of flashing lights is the same thing. It's a heart issue. I don't think I have ever done it. It just never occurs to me to do it. But, even if I am not speeding, I feel gratitude when someone flashes their lights at me as a warning. If I did it, it would be out of a desire to help someone out. Is it actually helpful in the long term? I don't know. Is it lawful, though? I'm not sure – does the law allow us to do it? Because if it doesn't, and we know that, then that makes it a different issue, doesn't it?

  • Bryan says:

    I was traveling down a 2 lane highway coming toward a small town, I knew the speed reduced at some point but wasn’t sure where, I honestly missed the sign! A kind Officer was there to show me just exactly where it was! As a result, I am now able to take you to that sign, almost blindfolded. Sometimes we learn best the hard way.
    Twitter: bryankr

  • Brian Cain says:

    Regardless of any morality questions, in most states, it is illegal (just for good measure, insert Romans 13 here). Whether they call it obstruction of justice, failure to dim headlights, or whatever. The reason is this: you think you’re warning speeders but you may be warning someone speeding away from a crime scene. Now they have possibly evaded capture because you want to pull one over on the police.

  • Jason Adkins says:

    I don't personally do this, but, my first reaction is that it is morally acceptable.

    Here's why.

    (1) Let's presuppose that the purpose of radar patrol is to curtail dangerous driving habits. Then, "flashing lights" helps achieve that purpose.

    (2) "Flashing lights" seems to be an act of mercy. If we truly love our neighbors, then we don't want them to violate the law and suffer consequences. "Flasing lights" warns and reminds others. (By the way, my dirty little secret is that I don't flash lights because I want other drivers to get caught; how could I wish that on anyone?)

    Perhaps, motive plays an important role. If you flash lights out of a desire to evade justice or prevent the police from doing thier job, then that does seem morally suspect.

  • GeorgeB says:

    Why not? I see good Christians display road rage.

Leave a Reply

Have you Subscribed via RSS yet? Don't miss a post!