January 26


4 way stops or Traffic lights

We in South Africa seem to be the only ones that refer to traffic lights as “robots” so if I refer to robots, you know what I mean.

Personally I used to hate 4 way stops. When 4 cars pitched up even though we all know how it works, we still have that uncomfortable pause. If you don’t well then you must be perfect (maybe you should consider being a traffic officer). Traffic lights are very different, there is never that hesitance. When the light is red stop, when it is green go. When it is orange put your foot down and hope it does not turn red before you over the line (ha ha ha don’t quote me on that hey)

Life has changed for me now and I actually prefer the 4 way stop vs the robot. And life is pretty much like the differences of the 2 hey. Well obviously it depends on how you live life, but its pretty much like that.

Before I explain that statement let’s look at the 2 critically.

4 way stop

First stop first go. Thats the rule, but it can easily be changed if someone decides to let you through. Yes it has its pitfalls, like if there is someone newer at it, they might cause a bit of chaos, but thats all part of it.

Traffic lights (robots so aptly called I might say)

These are different animals all together. Set outcomes at any given moment. It can only be adhered to and never changed. Well you could disobey and then you will have to pay the price won’t you.

So, back to the analogy. To live life in a 4 way stop way is to live it in a relational fashion (descriptive) and to live life in a traffic light(robot) way is to be more legalistic in approach (prescriptive)

I suppose I should qualify those statements hey. Well look at it. If you take your life, have you ever been given a chance you really were not supposed to be getting, but you met someone or knew someone? I know a guy who managed to get a passport from application to in his hands in 2 days flat…….. Have you ever heard of that? Well turns out he knew somebody that could get it done. Now that try that via the normal channels and I am sure you will wait at least 3 months.

I could use example after example to describe my point here. Do not get me wrong I think the laws are good and they help bring order to our lives. Its just that laws do not always take the change and flexibility that relationships bring, into consideration.

In my life according to protocol and the laws I should not be where I am and doing what I am doing (and I am not saying I broke the law). But if it were up to protocol alone and relationships with people were out of the equation I would not be here.

So in short I think the 4 way stop approach is better. It has the rules to support order, but can be flexible enough to allow for change and mistakes, which we all need and definitely do.



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  1. I like your thought provoking post. we need a healthy regulatory environment to govern human relations in the public arena. ‘Robotic Laws’ are needed to curtail and restrict the waywardness of those who have a flagrant disregard for well being of their fellow citizens. the Due to our fallen nature we have the propensity to not be law abiding.

    1. Well the posts and thoughts are related to the christian life and generally applied to all people. I don’t question that we need the law, its in how we run how personal lives that I do question.

      Over compensating by doing life according to law vs allowing relationships to shape us.

      There are always the extremists but I am simply pointing out that we are relational and we changed via this methods. This is where laws fail us, as in they can only point out the wrong and not change us. Neither does it allow for change either….

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