“I am writing this… to warn you as my dear children.” – 1 Corinthians 4:14

At 7 years old, my Josiah was a confident little bike rider … maybe too confident. It was a cool Saturday afternoon, so we decided to take a short trip to the church parking lot… Beth and I would walk, while the kids rode their bikes. One of the great things about living close to the church is that we get to enjoy this big empty lot when no one else is there. All my kids learned how to ride a bike in the lower lot. They have ridden there and back countless times, thankfully without incident, that is except for this one very close call.

On this particular day, as we started to head for home, I decided to let my boys ride ahead of us, much to my wife’s chagrin. Beth and I watched from a distance as our oldest rode down the hill at full speed making a quick turn into our driveway. Not to be outdone by his older brother, Josiah decided to try the same thing. We were watching his little legs pumping down the hill in front of us when we realized that a car was coming up behind him going far too fast near children on bikes. Josiah, not thinking about anything other than making a smooth, fast turn into our driveway, decided to make a last-minute maneuver to finish off his ride. He rounded out his turn by swerving left before turning right into the driveway, putting himself directly into the flow of traffic only a second before the car sped past him! Our hearts leaped. From our perspective, it looked like we were going to lose our little guy. We screamed in fear, mixed with relief, mixed with anger, and began running to the house getting angrier as we ran. By the time we got to the house and saw the boys’ look of confusion as if nothing had happened, we decided that they needed to know how scary their actions were. We wanted to put the fear of the Lord into them at that point. We wanted them to be as scared as we were, and we succeeded. Both boys were in tears by the time we cooled off and we started feeling like we may have overreacted.

But, did we overreact? As I think back on this situation, I actually don’t think we did. I’m glad that we got mad. I’m glad that they have a memory of their crazy parents running down the street yelling at them. I’m glad that they still remember how scared we were. I hope they never forget because I want my kids to have a healthy fear of things that they should have a healthy fear of. I don’t want them to make silly decisions that might ruin their lives. This little story makes me understand Paul’s warnings a bit more. He realizes that the people he loves are in trouble of making silly mistakes that could ruin the life that God has for them. He realizes that they need a strong warning, the way kids do from time to time.

I think that this might be a good way to look at all of God’s warnings through scripture. God doesn’t give us warnings just because he likes the rules and he wants people to listen to him. God gives us warnings because we are in danger of swerving into traffic. Maybe it’s time to listen as if our life depends on it.

Josh Rose
Teaching Pastor

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