How can I demonstrate God’s love? See something, say something, maybe.
He looked to be about 8 years old, the kid focused on the front edge of his skate board as he determinedly rode up and down my street. His track was the pavement in front of several houses on my block.
I stood at the window sipping a cup of coffee, watching his progress as he got the hang of his new gadget.
Back and forth, back and forth he went, the clattering sound of skateboard wheels on the rough pavement reaching into my living room. The expression on his face showed how much he was concentrating – how fast can I go, how fast can I turn, can I do a flip – normal stuff for a kid when there’s no skateboard ramp nearby.
He was still focused down at his feet when the car came up behind him. There were no sidewalks in our neighborhood, only a few cement driveways. Any of those would have been safe for him to swerve onto to get out of the car’s way.
But he was facing the wrong way, he didn’t hear the car, and so he didn’t swing onto the nearest driveway. He kept right on pushing, right in the street, right in the path of that oncoming car.
There was a posted speed limit but our street being a short cut between two major roads, many drivers ignored it. They often speeded up instead. Still watching, I frowned as I realized that the driver didn’t see the boy. In a minute it would be too late for him to stop.
What should I have done? It wasn’t my problem. That wasn’t my child. I didn’t know his family. They shouldn’t have let him play in the street anyway. Is that what I should have thought?
No. I jerked open the front door and ran outside yelling at the top of my lungs. Hey! Hey? Car! Car!
Both boy and driver saw my flailing arms, thankfully. The car veered into the other lane – good thing there was no oncoming traffic – and the boy jumped for the shallow ditch in front of my house. The car kept right on going, tragedy averted.
Had I been acting in “love,” the way some well-meaning folks seem to define it, I would have simply smiled and kept silent. I would have let the boy continue on his way, oblivious to danger. Would have let the driver commit vehicular manslaughter. Heaven forbid that I should offend somebody with harsh words, hurt the feelings of someone going down the path to eternal destruction.
But that’s not my heart. Not Holy Spirit’s heart, either.
If I see someone who is being deceived (and/or deceiving others), I will probably say something. Write something, maybe. Something, like Hey! Hey! Danger! Danger!
Offensive? Well, “offend” means to stop someone, to turn them out of the way they’re going, so yes. Out of the path of the deceiver.
That tendency has sometimes gotten me into hot water. It has made me the target of sarcastic words to my face and worse words behind my back. Rude online articles sometimes. Or passive-aggressive hostility, the silent treatment from friends who don’t know me or my heart very well.
But it has also gotten some folks free of deceptive entanglements that could have ruined their lives, and helped others avoid that path in the first place.