Which Road Will We Take?

“Ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road and I’ll be in Scotland a’fore ye . . .”

Many think that song is about a Scotsman who was headed to the Battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746 and did not expect to come home. This was the battle when English loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, defeated the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart near Inverness. In that battle between 1,500 & 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in less than one hour.

Ignoring that history, that ancient song came to mind one early morning as I walked my then young son to school. There were a couple of places where the rain from the last few days had created puddles on the sidewalk — right in our path. As I recall this event, I confess that most were easily avoidable, a simple step to the right or left allowed your foot to find dry ground. The last puddle however took up the sidewalk, was too large to step over, and the only way around was to circle through the wet grass or to step up on the curb next to the highway and traffic. My son was in jeans and cross-trainers and took to the grass, I had on business attire (a had a funeral to attend later that day) complete with dress shoes and light-colored dress slacks — no puddle or wet grass for me — I took to the curb and tried to keep balance so as not to fall into the puddle on either side. Did I mention the traffic on the highway? I started singing (much to my son’s distaste) the song as soon as we cleared the puddle.  My loud singing garnered a look of “Dad, you are embarrassing me, again!”

I hear people talk about “taking the high road” in situations of conflict. If taking the “high road” means considering the feelings and point of view of the other party making effort to not injure them; then that is what scripture recommends. Paul says in Philippians 2:3-7, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (ESV).

In today’s world of misguided “looking out for self” and misunderstanding of “respect,” Paul’s statement seems weak. But it is not a weak man who considers others, but the strong and meek man who practices self-control.

It is not a weak man who considers others, but the strong and meek man who practices self-control.

Will we like Jesus, take the High Road?

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