First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

It's Harmless Fun.

September 20, 2016

    Driving under the influence (DUI) is always dangerous and can often lead to dead on arrival (DOA) ambulance calls. Sometimes the one who dies is the one driving under the influence and sometimes those who die are innocent victims.

    Last evening at 9:30, I was driving home from Bible study and about 2 and a half miles from home, a mini-van pulled out in front of me and proceeded down the street. Nothing unusual about this, except, for the next mile and a half this mini-van was slowly weaving back and forth in the lane of travel. A half dozen times or more this vehicle swerved over the centerline and at least three times just missed oncoming traffic. I reached for my phone with intentions of calling 911 to report a driver under the influence.

    As this vehicle narrowly missed yet one more oncoming car, it signaled to turn left and travel through the center of town. I chose to follow this driver. On the two lane one way street, I pulled alongside the passenger side of this mini-van that I determined to be carrying five passengers. I expected to look over and see a disheveled person with a beer in their hand staring blankly forward. Instead.....

    There in the passenger seat was a young girl, maybe 15 years of age, staring into her cellphone, a boy about the same age was leaning between the seats (Not buckled), and a lady driving the vehicle was staring into her phone. I intentionally slowed down to mirror their speed and carefully looked intently at them all. The driver looked at me, looked away, then looked back again. Her expression was one of, "What are you looking at ya creep?!" All I could do was shake my head and move forward.

    If I can be brutally honest, I wanted to follow the vehicle to wherever they call home, grab the driver and scream intensely into her face. Instead, I uttered a prayer for them, their safe travel home, and for anyone they might encounter. It was obvious to me the mom was being a good mother by taking her kids out to indulge in 'harmless' fun and find Pokemon. 

    Harmless fun can be a family building event. Doing harmless fun in a motor vehicle can be a problem. The following Bible verses have often raised the ire of some folks and they will often argue that a loving God would never punish the children and grandchildren of someone who commits a sin.

        The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the

        guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth

        generation.’ In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have

        pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you

        asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one

        of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who

        disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to

        their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. (Numbers 14:18-23, NIV)

Their argument would be half correct. That God is slow to anger and abounds in love and forgiving sin and rebellion is comforting. Yet, guilty people who continue to sin and show no remorse or repentance will not only experience God's discipline but according to this verse could pass that discipline onto their children and their children's children.

    In one fell swoop, the driver last night could have taken her entire van load of people to their deaths and all because of harmless fun. In hindsight, I really needed to call 911 and at least report this loving and careless lady. Please, please put down the phone and drive. Thanks.

                                                        (Photo creds: www.bing.com [dol.wa.gov])

                                                                                                         PS: Going out to purchase a dashcam today.

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