Read the Map -- By Elizabeth Price

We were well prepared for our journey. We started with a decision and a commitment and added travelling essentials like sunglasses and wallet, fuel in the tank, and made very sure we had a road map.

All went well, the unfamiliar road was good, traffic was moderate and we made good time. It was easy to look around and we noticed as we came up to a fork in the road how beautiful the scenery was on the road that curved to the right.

The left curve was less attractive, rather isolated looking and, as nearly all the traffic was going right, we made a logical decision to follow. We didn't even bother to consult the map, the choice was just so obvious and easy.

If we had any doubtful feelings, we didn't say anything, we just kept going. The avenue was broad, there were plenty of shops and lots of tea and coffee places.

What we had not noticed was that, almost without warning, the street changed into a one-way road with no turn-offs and we finally realised we had taken a wrong turn.

We pulled over to ask directions from passers-by to find the way back. As we asked, one turned his back on us, one ignored us completely and another verbally abused us. We were bewildered and, by now, not a little distraught.

Finally, a little old lady with a book under her arm saw our plight. "Perhaps I can help?" she offered gently. She took us to a coffee shop, ordered refreshments for us and sat down to look over our map. She compared our map with the one in her book and showed us how to find the turn that would eventually take us back to the curve where we had taken a wrong road.

Perhaps someone you love has taken a wrong road like Jacob did when he lied to his father; like King David did when he committed two terrible acts; like Peter did when he denied Jesus. Don't turn your back, don't ignore him, don't verbally abuse him. Be like the little old lady with the Book under her arm. Compare your map with hers because "If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently." (Galatians 6:1).

Why? Because "God is love" and "love is patient, love is kind." (1 John 4:16, 1 Corinthians 13:4). Love takes you back to the right road.

Elizabeth Price