We’re on the freeway, trying to get somewhere on time, and brake lights are flashing up ahead.
What is it about people who slow down and even stop to see someone else’s misfortune or tragedy? I confess I’ve slowed down and looked, too. Then wished I hadn’t. Is it human nature to gawk? Is there some kind of evil at work here, a tendency to be fascinated when images come of disaster?
Car chases and crashes are a big thing in the movies. Is that because movie-makers know how many people love to watch mayhem – at least, the unreal kind they can see safely and only vicariously experience?
There is an accident. Oh, Lord.
Are those two tangled cars the result of someone texting while driving? Was the accident caused by road rage? A drunk driver? Driving too fast on a foggy morning? Someone who was holding their precious, wiggly, little Pomeranian on their lap while driving? Cars slow to a crawl as people crane their necks to see.
Rubbernecking applies to things other than car wrecks, airplane crashes, hurricane and tsunami devastation. People buy newspapers, eager for the next installment of “information”. Who tweeted what last week and why? What athlete beat up his wife? Is that prospective judge a sex offender or not? Why couldn’t seven FBI investigations uncover some dirt? The news media knows all too well how people love to read scandal. It goes down smooth as honey and sours the stomach. Bad news is their market.
The truth is good news doesn’t sell.
We see “rubbernecking” in churches, too. Discussions and debates on some church leader who is accused of sexual harassment or has a new, somewhat disturbing “model” for ambitious pastors to follow. We see one denomination or non-denomination delighting in the trials and tribulations of another bigger one. Even prayer lists can turn into an excuse to gossip.
God says the heart of man(kind) is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who would know better than He who sent His Son knowing what we’d do to the perfect, innocent Son of man? We like to think we’re good. But that “goodness” is a veneer barely covering the real depraved, yet unredeemed creature underneath.
Struggling with our sin nature is a constant battle. Love — God’s kind of love, never delights in evil. God’s love covers a multitude of sins. God’s love is sacrificial, patient, kind, not jealous, extends a helping hand, hopes for the best.
We’re in stand-still traffic again. Oh, Lord, let the slowing remind me to pray no one is hurt. Give me the mind-set to keep moving forward, eyes on the road, making room for those who can and will help whoever needs it. God, please be with them in their hour of need. And God, please, make me more like You and less like me.