Last Sabbath my wife and I spent an enjoyable time with the Allegheny East family at their Camp Meeting in Pine Forge, Pennsylvania, where I was the speaker on the Friday evening. As we were returning to our hotel late Saturday evening little did we know that the pleasant memories of the weekend were about to come to an abrupt end. It was about 10:30 p.m. when we encountered two drivers that decided to have a drag race on the same road on which we were traveling. I glimpsed the vehicles through my rear view mirror and couldn’t believe the tremendously fast speeds at which the two drivers were traveling. But what was more shocking than how fast they were going was that the driver immediately behind me did not appear to slow down despite the fact that he was just a few feet away. The next thing we knew he had crashed into the rear of our car.
After getting over the initial shock of being hit, I looked through my rear-view mirror expecting to see the driver of the car preparing to come to our aid or to check to see if we were alright, but instead he put his car into reverse and quickly sped away into the night. The driver of the car that he was racing also left the scene immediately. To add insult to injury, a few spectators who had witnessed the accident from an adjacent parking lot got into their vehicles and drove away as well, leaving me and my wife to fend for ourselves.
The official term for what happened to us that evening is referred to as a ‘hit and run’ accident, in which the driver of a vehicle involved in an collision leaves the scene quickly without checking if any damage has been done and without regards for the others involved.
Although the term ‘hit and run’ is used primarily for vehicular accidents, it is also a common occurrence among many of God’s people today. Think about it: How many times have you hit someone with an unkind word or deed, but instead of waiting around to see if your actions have caused any damage, you quickly turned and walked away? Or what about those times when, instead of following Jesus’ golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you,” you chose to follow the words I read on a bumper sticker that said, “Do unto others then split?” How many times as Christians have we been the culprit of a hit and run? Yes, we might be willing to start the rumor, but are we willing to wait around to see who gets hurt? We may do what it takes to start the fire, but are we willing to wait around to see if anyone gets burnt? Even in sharing the gospel there are times when we are guilty of this crime by abandoning those who do not readily accept our invitation to follow Christ.
As disciples of Jesus we are obligated to live our lives according to a higher standard than one we might find on a bumper sticker. It is a standard of conduct that requires that we consider not only our actions but the ramifications they may have on the lives of others.
Charles A. Tapp