Be very careful how you live

Published 5:17 pm Friday, October 7, 2016

I recall an event from my experiences as a young daddy; it was about thirty years ago in South Carolina.  Our girls were small at the time, the youngest was about four.  It was in late winter with heavy wind gusts as we often had during that time of year.  As I found a place to park with other cars surrounding us, I cautioned the girls not to open the door because the heavy wind might snatch it into the side of the car beside us.  I had barely gotten the words out of my mouth when one of them did exactly what I had told them not to do, and it turned out exactly the way I had warned them—a huge gust of wind came and slammed my door into the side of the other car.

What do you do under such circumstances?  Nobody was in the car and nobody saw what happened, so the easy solution would have been to make my escape, keep my mouth shut, and let the owner deal with it if they noticed the sizeable ding that my child had caused to happen.  I could not live with that kind of response so I sought to do the right thing:  own up to causing the damage.  But with the owner absent and not knowing if it would be a long time before she showed up I decided to write a note and leave on the windshield with my contact information.

As I was about to complete my note, the car’s owner showed up.   No need for a note then—it was face-to-face confession time!  Embarrassed, frustrated, and upset, I knew I had to take whatever came.  There was no need to grieve over how senseless it was for such a thing to happen—it had happened and I had to deal with it.  And as things go, it had to be a nice new vehicle without any other dents on it.

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If only my little girl had carefully followed instructions—but she didn’t.  There is much all of us can learn from that.

In Ephesians 5, the Bible contains these words:  “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (verses 15-16, New International Version).  If the days could be referred to as being evil way back then, there is no doubt that we live in an evil day today.  We must be careful how we live if we expect to please God.

How is it that we can be careful how we live?  Much could be said in answer to that question, but in simple and basic form, the solution is to do what I wanted my children to do on that blustery day in South Carolina—carefully obey what they were told.  The instructions for careful Christian living that are found in Ephesians 5 include living by Godly wisdom, avoiding drunkenness, staying filled with the Holy Spirit, and keeping a thankful heart.  We should be very careful everyday to abide by those instructions.

Following instructions can spare from lots of heartache; failing to do so comes with a hefty price.

So what about the bump on that nice lady’s car?  It all turned out fine.  She was understandably upset, but she gave me a break and did not make a big deal out of it.  I expect those little innocent eyes of my four year old spared me from wrath.