Today I was in my first real car accident. Thank the Lord, the only injury was an orange-shaped, swollen bruise on the elbow of the lady in the passenger’s seat of the car. We were in our motor home, and they were in a car. They didn’t realize they were running a red light. We had the right of way.
The moment it happened, we were all ready to get out, Mom, Reuel and I with our cameras, ready to document what had happened. First questions between the man and his wife in the car and us were, “Are you all ok?” Then we began checking the damage on each other’s vehicles.
This is probably the thing that impressed me the most. The attitudes all around were so Christ-like, so caring for the other person and so humble and honest. That can only be Jesus working in hearts! A lot of times when you see an accident like that, someone starts casting blame on someone else, people may show little care for each other’s wellbeing, and a spirit of anger and coldness.
But here, the man was honest about what happened and humbly took responsibility. We were all trying to make sure the woman, who had bruised her arm, had ice to bring down the swelling and was feeling fine. She was asking us if we were sure we were ok.
My friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, this is what our Heavenly Father asks of us in difficult, stressful, horrible situations. Actually, in every situation. No matter what bad things happen, whether it’s our fault or not, our defenses should not fly up. Anger, a blaming attitude, and pride in your own “rightness” should not instantly flare up. The first thing should be care for the other’s wellbeing. As the Bible tells us, each of us should not spend our time looking after our own concerns, but looking after those of others (Philippians 2:4). This isn’t a license to nosiness. It’s genuine, Christ-like love for our neighbors. As Jesus said, the commandments are summed up in loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27). In another text, we’re admonished to prefer each other in honor above ourselves (Romans 12:10).
This is God’s will for His children. This is His character, and this is how it must be lived out in the lives of all who take His name.
After the accident, while we waited for the police, my brother and I talked about the parables or spiritual lessons we could draw from this experience. Several came to mind.
One is to always be alert in the present, instead of living in the past on automatic. You see, the driver of the car explained that a little ways back up the road, they had come to an intersection just like the one where the accident took place, where construction work was being done on the other side. The light was red and he stopped. But one of the construction workers on the other side of the intersection was holding one of those “Slow/Stop” signs, and he had just turned it to slow. So he waved at him to come through the red light. So he went. A little while later, they came to this intersection, where another construction crew was working. The driver came to a stop, but then he saw the guy with the sign turn his sign to slow. The guy didn’t wave him through, but remembering the previous situation, he started across the intersection. But we were already crossing.
We cannot live our lives by what happened in the past. True, we must know the past so we will not repeat its mistakes and will learn from its victories, but we have to live within the present, making new victories and continued progress. And we must remain alert! We should never go into automatic mode! That’s when we become too relaxed and comfortable that we’re certain to fall right into the enemy’s carefully camouflaged traps. Driving on cruise control may be alright in a car on a long road trip, but it’s absolutely deadly in your spiritual life! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Another valuable parable from this experience is about focus. My brother loves to come up with witty one-liners, so he came up with one that goes something like this:
Keep your eyes on the Light, and not on the man.
Fitting advice. Too much of our time is spent focused on humans and what they’re doing or not doing. We say to ourselves, “She wears those things and she’s a Christian, so I should be able to do the same.” Or, “He goes there, and he’s always speaking in church, so I can go there, too.”
Never a thought for what Jesus would have us do, or say, or wear, or be. We compare ourselves to faulty, frail humans, who sometimes aren’t even walking with God, instead of to the only spotless Example, Jesus, the Son of God Himself, who lived out the life that He wants to live out in us.
So let’s look at Jesus, contemplate Him and His character and His way of living. Let’s look to Perfection and walk in His footsteps.