There’s just something about a 75 mph impact that will change your perspective.
On December 13, 2013, my wife and I were in a rather nasty automobile accident. Since that day, I’d say I’m a pretty cautious driver. Stopping. Looking both ways. Checking and double checking. It really has changed the way I drive.
A few weeks ago, our area of Texas experienced a bit of cold weather. Nothing major, but enough to close schools, businesses and bridges. I woke up as normal, got dressed to go to work, and began searching weather reports to prepare for my day. As I headed to work, I noticed the traffic was thin. And as I approached the towering Rainbow Bridge, I noticed barricades and policemen. Consequently, I turned around to make the long trip to work through Beaumont. As I’m driving away, I hit an icy patch of road. Whoa…whoa…whoa! Just enough slipping and sliding for me to decide to sit this one out. I’m headed home.
Over the weekend we began hearing the reports of another wintry storm moving into our area. This time, they were anticipating a little more ice. Monday was a pretty normal day, other than all the talk about “What are we going to do tomorrow?” “When’s it supposed to hit?” “Do they still want us to come in?” You know. Typical talk at work. Tuesday morning comes around and hey, the roads are clear. Looks like I’m headed to work. Yeah, but what about getting back home? The storm is moving in around 7 or 8am. Do I really want to be stuck in Port Arthur on the other side of the Bridge?
After making it to work, it all seemed calm and safe. The storm did roll in giving us freezing temperatures and sleet with a little snow. Now my only concern…getting home after work.
Over the course of the day, the weather (and roads) got worse. Then the caution came about 1:30pm, “The roads are getting bad, you all should head home.” Ugh…yay for getting off. But I’m not looking forward to this drive. Ya know?
Knowing that I must travel through Beaumont to get home, I plan my route on as many back roads as I can (which helped me avoid most traffic). Many overpasses were closed forcing traffic on the feeder roads. Then, I hit Interstate 10. As I gingerly proceed down the freeway, I see the 18 wheelers and other vehicles not traveling with the same caution as I’ve chosen to use. Ummm…hey, don’t you realize these roads are dangerous? I know most big rig drivers are experienced, more mature drivers. But this is making me nervous.
Have you ever been in that situation? What is it that makes me think I too should be driving faster? Why do I feel this pressure when they’re on my bumper? Is there something wrong with me? Do they know something that I don’t know? Like, which lane doesn’t have ice? Or that this elevated bridge is safe to cross going 65?
As I drove home, thinking about what the others drivers thought about me, I wondered if this is similar to what Paul was thinking:
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall. (1 Corinthians 8:9-13)
Or even in Romans 14:14-15…
I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.
Hey, this isn’t about me telling you how to live your life. I’m just thinking out loud here. After being in Youth and College ministry for a few years, I realize the “things” I do, affect others. Even in those “grey” areas. Those specific actions that God’s Word doesn’t specifically cover. I know. I know “Everything is permissible.”
However, not everything is helpful…not everything builds up.
Yes, you’re a mature believer. Praise the Lord. Just remember us weaker drivers. Those of us who’ve had our lives impacted by that which you’re participating. And those newbie’s out there. I’d hate to see the wreck you cause because they’re unprepared to handle the roads at your speed.
Thinking about my day, if I didn’t have to go to work, I wouldn’t have driven at all. I really can’t think of any grey area of which we are obligated to engage.
So maybe it’s just best to stay off that road.