Standing in the express lane at the local grocery I noticed the man ahead of me with a large number of items to check out. A quick review easily detected this man was way over the limit of ten items reserved for this lane. He seemed aware of this and also seemed oblivious to care what anyone thought. It crossed my mind to say something to him encouraging him to find another aisle but decided it was not a matter of great importance. As the cashier began checking the groceries she noticed the large number of grocery items and pointed out to the man his discretion. He ignored her and bagged his own groceries and left without a word. She apologized and I acknowledged that I felt that many people feel empowered to impose their will on others without concern. It did cross my mind that had I said anything to the man or the cashier that with what is heard in the news he could just as well go to his car and bring a gun back.
More and more stories are filling the news with arguments in movie theatres ending in the shooting death of a patron. A lady makes a comment to a man who brushed her car with his wheel-chair and he pulls a gun and kills her. Road rage has led to people being shot over arguments and angry feelings of retribution. Many states have legalized the carrying of weapons in public which is not the issue in itself but now it is much easier for someone to become angry and shoot first without asking questions. Recently my wife, daughter and I were the victims of a man shouting and screaming at us because we pulled in front of him at a McDonalds drive-through. He walked back to his truck cursing us. Had he been a rational person to talk too we could have easily shown how we did not see him stopped in the parking lot behind us (and there were two lanes available). In today’s climate I chose to drive away.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4). What is happening today is not new. Perilous times have been around since the serpent deceived Eve. But there seems to be times in history with heightened peril and our world is a perilous place to live. Paul illustrates the problem when an examination is given to the character of people. The man who ignored the express lane is characteristic of those who are lovers of themselves. They care not what others think or do because they are empowered to live above what others think. Pride fills their hearts in their arrogance. The anger that flows over to killing is rooted in unholy people who have no love and regard for human life. Our society is ruled by the lack of self-control. Men have become brutal in their thoughts and actions. Pleasure is at the top of the list and what I want I get is the religion of the day. We live in perilous times.
As the people of God we must be aware of our surroundings. Caution would dictate the better course of action is what the wise man said – “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness … The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil” (Proverbs 15:1-2, 28).” A ten item express lane is not worth dying over or a spot in a drive through. The judgment of God will be the final answer and I am greatly satisfied to know He will mete out the proper answer. Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies and sometimes they come in the form of loud mouth, cursing and prideful people. Sadly these folk do not know the true happiness and peace found in Christ. May God grant them the time to come to know Him who has a greater answer to life than what they find in themselves.