We are finishing up this 6-part series. If you’re ready for us to move on, we’re moving on
after this. We’re pretty excited about this, and as we wrap up, for those of you who have not been
with us for any of this series, I want to review really quickly. The title of the series is Guardrails.
Essentially, we’ve taken the idea of a guardrail and built a spiritual principle out of it. We’ll see
how well we do. Here’s what a guardrail is. You know this part. A guardrail is a system designed
to keep vehicles from straying into dangerous, or off-limit areas. We all know what a guardrail
is. The guardrail is actually placed in an area that’s safe to drive to keep us from going into
places that are unsafe to drive. A guardrail is always placed a few feet or a few yards away from
the area of danger. Guardrails are designed to cause a little bit of damage in order to keep you
from experiencing a lot of damage. We all know that on the other side of guardrails are places
that we shouldn’t go.
So, we asked the question a few weeks ago: What would it look like to create guardrails
or to establish guardrails in other areas of our lives? What would it look like to have financial
guardrails? What would it look like to have moral guardrails? What would it look like to have
guardrails that help us with our friendships or our marriage—academic, professional—just any
arena of life? What if we were to establish some guardrails that kept us back from the edge of
disaster, whatever that might be? So, we came up with our own definition, and here’s the
definition we’ve been using. A guardrail is a standard of behavior, or a standard of personal
behavior (which means you make these up yourself), a standard of personal behavior that
becomes a matter of conscience.
And the matter of conscience part is a little bit tricky. The idea is that you would create a
standard. You would say, In this area of my life, this is as far as I’m going to go. And you would
make that decision so personal that when you violated it or began to violate your own personal
standard, your conscience would light up and say, “Warning, warning, warning! You’re moving
towards something dangerous.” A personal standard of behavior that nobody else may subscribe
to, a personal standard of behavior that’s your own personal standard, but you’re so committed to
it that you actually feel guilty because your conscience lights up. You actually feel guilty when
you begin to violate your personal standard, the idea being to create some guardrails that keep us
away from disaster.
The thing we’ve said every single week is this (and this is never going to change), our
culture baits us to the edge of disaster in several areas, and then mocks us once we step over
certain lines. Our culture baits us to the edge of disaster financially—buy, buy, buy, buy now,
zero down, you can pay for it for the rest of your life, no one’s ever going to come bother you.
It’s just going to be great. And then you get yourself in a lot of debt and then the culture goes,
You’re pretty irresponsible. Look at all that consumer debt. Oh, that credit card debt. Nobody
wants to marry you. You’re a loser. It’s like, Wait a minute. I just did what you told me to do.
Well, sorry. That’s culture, right? Culture baits us to the edge of disaster morally, relationally, in
our marriages, and then we step over certain lines and people are going, Oh, you’re gross; you’re just disgusting, ugh. So the question is, again, how do you manage that? So that’s never going to
change, so we’ve said what if we establish some guardrails.
We’ve talked about every area. We’ve talked about finances; we’ve talked about moral
guardrails, talked about friendships—all kinds of stuff. Today as we wrap up, I want to address
the big pushback to all of this. If you haven’t been with us, I’m not going to give you much more
context than I’ve already given you. You can go online and listen or watch these for free. But if
you’ve been with us, I want to talk specifically about why we don’t do this. Because chances are,
if you’ve been in this series, you’ve had sort of two tracks running. One track is, I hope my
wife’s listening. One track is, “I’ve got to get a copy of this for my kids.” I’ve heard that so
many times. “I’ve got a get a copy of this.” In fact, a good friend of mine said this morning, “My
kids are young; I’m going to get a copy of this and save it for when my kids are older.” “I hope