Recently, there was a bad car accident out on one of the local highways. It wasn’t the typical busy big city main highway, but certainly busy compared to some. The vehicle had swerved off the side of the road, over-corrected, swerved back to the opposite side of the road, hitting the guardrail causing it to flip over on its roof.
Lots of cars slowed down, and moved out of the way. The cars were certainly diligent in cooperating together to uniformly move out of the way, forming a single file line in the opposite lane to get safely by. Every single driver curiously looked at the accident as they passed by. Most shook their head in disbelief, and pity. Many shook their head in sadness for whoever was in the car. Some drove by with simple curiosity. One person driving by even sent up a prayer to God.
After what seemed like dozens of minutes having passed, all the cars were gone and the roadway was quiet once again except for the sound of a hissing radiator and one of the tires still rattling in a spin.
People went home, ate dinner, played with the kids, folded laundry, and told their spouses and friends about the sad accident they had seen earlier on the way home. Everyone was curious what the outcome was; what the cause was… Everyone was concerned for whoever might have been in the vehicle.
The next morning people woke from their good nights sleep and turned on the morning TV news station to see if there were any reports of the accident they had seen; some got online to look from their favorite news source; some grabbed the paper sitting on their front porch. All of them saw the reports of the accident…
They read about how the vehicle must have veered off course and over-corrected. They read how the vehicle slammed into the guardrail and flipped over. They read about how an unnamed victim driving the vehicle was killed instantly. But then they all stopped, as their hearts began pounding hard in their chest, adrenaline kicking in, as they read about a second victim in the vehicle. It was a young girl, 11 years old. All reports told of how somehow this little girl incurred no wounds, no bleeding, no head trauma… nothing. Yet, all the reports told how a police officer had arrived, while driving on his regular beat, and saw the overturned vehicle. He parked and ran up to the vehicle, one tire still spinning, and crouched down and looked inside. To his dismay, he saw the deceased driver first. Then, in the passenger seat, he saw a young girl who was hanging upside-down by her seat belt. He looked at her in horror, seeing that the seatbelt had caught her from falling to the ground, but had caught her by her neck, restricting her breathing. Knowing she wasn’t breathing, he quickly found the buckle release and pushed it. She came loose quickly, and he checked for any signs of life in her. There wasn’t. She had died. Suffocated by her own seat belt. It was too late. The only thing that had to happen for her to live was for someone to stop and help. At the very least, someone could have called the emergency line for help while driving past the accident… yet no one did. No one stopped.
Each driver that drove by thought the other would step up and do it. Most were thinking, in their own unfortunately selfish ways, about the things that were awaiting them at home; or how much longer it was going to take now; or were concerned about finishing the cell phone call they were on. It wasn’t that no one cared. Everyone did. Everyone was concerned. Everyone wished the best for whoever was in the vehicle. Yet, no one stepped up… no one took action.1
Where are our hearts at? Where are our hearts at when we’re driving past accidents? Where are our hearts at when we’re at home, tired from the day and our child needs our attention? Where are our hearts at when our church has needs? Where are our hearts at in our relationships with our spouse or significant others? Where are our hearts at when a friend, a co-worker, a family member is having the most horrible day and could use someone to talk to? There are a hundred situations more that could apply…
Friends, we are Christians! We are called… commanded, to love others. We are told to love our neighbor as ourselves2, yet every day we leave people to be strangled by the world, left to fend for themselves. Every single day we miss opportunities God has given us. Every single day we neglect those whom we claim to love, and on and on. Every single day we lose sight of what it is to truly be Christian. Most of us already know how Christians should act; we’ve got our checklists figured out by now. But if so many Christians know how to act, why aren’t there more people stepping up in the church, or loving better in our homes, or loving our friends in need, or the non Christian friend, or even the stranger we pass on the street? It’s not just the thought that counts. So, do we know what it is to truly be Christian?
Love God and love others.
Everything else is secondary.
And if we can’t do that in its most basic form, perhaps our hearts are not in the right place. Perhaps our hearts are off track. Perhaps we need to take a good hard look at ourselves, and examine ourselves where we’re really at. It’s not about starting with what we’re doing3. It starts with the heart, and that starts with God. From there, I believe we will start to truly be Christians, in our every day lives, to the world around us.
Love God and love others.
Everything else is secondary.
Where is your heart today?
1 – The events in this story are fictional, and created to stir up thought in the Christian thinker. The incidents in this story have not actually happened
2 – Matthew 22:35-39
3 – Matthew 7:17-23