Patty was one of my best friends. Patty’s dad was the superintendent of the school in Scobey, Montana. I can’t remember how many brothers and sisters she had, but each of them had a bicycle, and there was always a bicycle for me to ride. We had an old bike at home but riding alone on the gravel roads on our farm wasn’t much fun. I didn’t think there was anything more fun than riding bicycles with my friend on the paved streets in town.
I was 10 years old. The earth finally started waking up after the long winter. School was out. It was still chilly, and because of the late Montana spring, the swimming pool wouldn’t be open for several more weeks.
Mom was going to town to write some articles at the newspaper office, and I took every opportunity to go with her to be with friends.
Patty invited me over to ride bikes.
“Mom, may Kathy and I ride out to the golf course?” she asked her mother.
“I suppose,” she responded. “Just be careful.”
And with that, we were off. As we came to the edge of town the pavement gave way to the gravel road by the newly created “antique town” where old buildings, machinery, and artifacts were being gathered to create a museum that would become our town’s main attraction.
As we rode toward that golf course, it was obvious that there had been no road maintenance over the winter.
We raced each other past the old buildings, and as we did, several girls from my older brother’s class were riding their bicycles back to town. As we raced past them, they warned, “SLOW DOWN”.
I yelled back at Patty as we crested a steep hill, “What did they say?”
She yelled back as I sped down the hill, “I think they said, slow down.”
But it was too late. I was going fast, and the front tire got caught in a deep rut carved from the spring run-off of melting snow. The tire started bouncing back and forth in the rut, and my bicycle went out of control. I flew off the bike, my body rolling uncontrollably like a ragdoll thrown from a car until I finally came to a stop.
Patty screamed, “Are you okay?” Leaving her bike at the top of the hill, she ran to help me. I hurt all over and it felt like I had broken bones everywhere. I could stand but could hardly walk. She left me there and sped home on her bike to get her dad. Although I was sore, bruised, and embarrassed, I had only broken my collar bone.
The warning was shouted, but I didn’t hear it. I wasn’t listening.
I’m not always good at confrontation face-to-face. I’m a writer, and unlike the spoken word, in writing I can edit, re-write, and evaluate before it’s put out there.
I recently came across a letter that I had written several years ago when a young friend was heading down a dangerous path.
As I re-read the letter, I felt the Lord remind me that the Word of God is not only filled with promises and inspiration to live godly lives but it’s also filled with warnings.
We are warned that “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
We know that the Bible warns us in Leviticus 19:31 (NIV), “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.” It seems harmless, some of our favorite TV shows had mediums or happy witches as the main character.
And what about the friendships on our shows; sexual immorality is so commonplace in movies and on TV that this generation thinks it’s normal to live together before marriage.
But Galatians 5:19 (ESV) says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, SORCERY, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Who is going to warn this generation? Is this just old-fashioned?
I remember getting in the car with my fiancé. We were driving back to Bible School in Texas. Even today I have a difficult time speaking about “sexual” anything because it was such a private subject, but my dad was concerned, and even back then, warned us to “behave”. As we drove off, I looked at my fiancé and asked, “Do you think he meant . . . ummm…” and he laughed and said, “I don’t think your dad is as naïve as you think he is.”
Every generation thinks the last was “old-fashioned”, but Jesus is current and relevant for today. The same warnings that were good for my grandfather are good for my grandchildren.
“He who has ears to hear, let them hear.” Matthew 11:15 (NIV)
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
It’s okay to speak up. What if you’re visiting a friend, and the decorative candle they lit to impress you was too close to a sheer curtain? Would you say something? How about if the curtain starts on fire? Can we develop the same urgency for our children’s souls?
“How, then, will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Romans 10:14 (NIV)
Lord, thank you for truth. I pray that those that are within our sphere of influence, whether family, friends, or casual interactions would be confronted with truth and feel your presence because we bring your presence wherever we go. In our broken world, many have no clue that they are agreeing with the works of the enemy. Use me to bring light to everyone I encounter. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Kathy, your words ring true. I spent years struggling with doubts, sin, affections of this world and drifted from God. During that time, not one person I knew in Christ came to me and said “stop it”. I’m not claiming to be a victim of any sort. I’m responsible for my actions. The sad part is that years of my life were wasted in a self centered vacuum. The lack of someone coming to me in love and reprimanding me was harmful to the body. Knowing me, I probably would have repented. Time would not have been lost. The worst thing that would have happened if someone would have come to me would have been me simply rejecting their effort. If you ever see someone derailed, go to them and make the effort.
As usual you have given us truth without condemnation. I love you Kathy Rice and thank the Lord you are in my life. Keep writing and inspiring us all to be more Christ-like.