Five Teens, A Drowning Man and Me
Would you rather drown in a lake or spend eternity in hell?
I know. It isn’t much of a choice. You have probably already answered, “Neither!”
Allow me to rephrase my question. Do you think it is more important to save a man from drowning or from going to hell?
Ok. So the answer gets a bit more complicated. You might say, “Both! If possible I would want to save a man from drowning and hell.” On the other hand, if I was talking about the same man, it would be more important for him to have eternity in order than to be rescued from drowning.
Truthfully, we can’t imagine wanting either one of these things to happen, and the question is a bit quirky because one is not necessarily contingent on the other. A man might drown and still end up in hell. He might be saved from drowning and end up in heaven. If he knows the Lord he might drown and go to heaven, but if he doesn’t know the Lord he might be saved and still end up in hell.
You are probably tired of my rambling on these two topics which are most serious in nature. But perhaps you have already surmised where I am headed.
A few days ago five teens watched as a 32-year-old man drown in a lake in Florida. Not only did they watch, but they taunted him and recorded his death on their smart phones. The dying man screamed for help. The teens on shore laughed at him. Then they posted their video on social media.
We are shocked and horrified by what happened, and rightfully so. It also appears it is going to be hard to charge the teens with anything more than a misdemeanor. It isn’t a crime in Florida to refuse to help a drowning man. This is possibly because such a law could hold someone legally responsible for deciding not to risk his own life to save another.
But to laugh at a dying man, video his death and leave the scene?
There ought to be a law against that.
Which brings me to a point that has likely occurred to you by now: What is our exposure for watching people go to hell while we stand by and do nothing?
“Hey! That’s not a fair question! How do I know if someone is going to hell?”
“Do they know Jesus?”
“I don’t know.”
“Have you asked?”
“But you see them almost every day?”
“Then you are standing around while they could be going to hell.”
I know I am being harsh, but this is a real conversation I am having with myself today. In addition, I am thinking of the times I have laughed at people’s behavior with no thought of whether or not they know the Lord. I have even watched one of those TV shows where broken people show up to yell at each other and take lie detector and DNA tests to decide if they are still going to live together. After all, it’s entertaining! Right?
Entertaining like laughing at a man drowning in a lake?
And putting it on a media platform for the whole world to see?
I’ll be honest. My heart is crushed. Crushed for the man who drowned after crying out for help. For his family. For the misguided teens whose souls and lives are in grave danger.
But mostly I am thinking of the people I have watched drown in the sea of life and die without Jesus. Of the times I have made light of their plight and my cavalier attitude toward their eternal destination.
I can’t do anything about the situation in Florida except stand with others and mourn the moral demise of our culture. But I can do something about the people I know in my life who might not know Jesus.
What’s stopping me?
The fear that some of my peers standing on the shore with me might laugh at me?
My preoccupation with my smart phone and social media?
Woe is me.