Abel and Adam (not their real names) are friends who live beside each other on the top of a hill that overlooks the town where they work. Their commute to work is simple. Each morning they negotiate their way down a winding road, cross the bridge that spans the ravine and river and then drive a short 2 Km drive to their workplace. They both work for the same business but have different starting times. One evening, while chatting over a BBQ, Adam shared with Abel that he was having problems at work. Abel knew Adam’s story all too well as everyone in the workplace has witnessed their manager chastising Adam for his constant tardiness. Adam was always late and the bosses were getting fed up. Abel figured the problem had worsened because he has overheard Adam and Eve (his wife) arguing a lot lately. As they talked Abel noted that Adam seemed even more agitated than usual. Adam revealed that he has been threatened with dismissal if he were to be late again. Adam stated that Eve threatened to leave him and take the children if he was fired. Adam was worried he would lose his family and his home. After thinking for a moment Abel suggested to his friend that he could call Adam every morning as he was leaving for work to ensure Adam was up. Adam agreed. For the next few weeks this arrangement seemed to be working well.
One evening there was a terrible storm with high winds, torrential rains and flooding in the ravine. It let up in the middle of the night and all seemed well but Abel’s sleep was interrupted by a phone call asking him to come in early to fire up the furnaces that had gone out during the storm. Abel got dressed, grabbed a coffee and left for work. As he was getting into his car he looked over to Adam’s house and wondered what to do. It was still an hour to go before the scheduled time to call but he decided Adam would be fine. As he drove down the hill he could see flashing lights in the distance. He was fortunate to have been driving slowly because as he came around the last corner, he had to stop suddenly otherwise he would have driven off the ravine edge into the river below; the bridge had washed out during the night. He could see the emergency vehicles on the other side but none were on his. He knew he was going to have to do something to prevent people from driving off the bridge and so he positioned his car to face up the road and then stood outside his vehicle hoping to flag down oncoming cars. About 90 minutes later he could hear car tires screeching. He looked up the hills and could see car lights in the wood line quickly coming towards him. It didn’t take him long to realize it was Adam rushing to work and probably thinking he was late.
Able positioned himself in the middle of the road ready to stop Adam and then he recalled their conversation from a few weeks ago. He remembered Adams fear and anger and how he blamed everyone for his problems. He thought that if he stopped the car Adam would blame him for being late and losing everything. They had been friends for a long time and he didn’t want to be blamed by Adam who would become angry at any news. So as Adam raced around the last corner, Abel stepped aside and Adam and his car flew of the bridge into the ravine below.
There is a fate worse that death. It is eternal separation from God. We know how to prevent this outcome and have been tasked by Jesus to tell others how to avoid this fate. However many worry what others will think about them spreading this news. Many wonder whether they will be accused of preventing someone from enjoying the pleasures of the world or from doing what they want. Many fear being called a crackpot and fool for speaking about the hope and eternal life that Jesus offers. Many worry they will lose friends if they warn them about the destructive road they are on regardless of the truth found in scripture that says some will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. We have to warn our others.
Stop what you are doing right now and ask God to bring a friend to mind that needs Jesus. Ask God to give you the courage to approach that friend and the wisdom to speak to them. Don’t step aside. Friends don’t let friends drive off the road that leads to their eternal damnation.