Thursday, January 3, 2013

Driver? Or just somebody who owns a car?

As I grew up, how did I know when I was a man? I knew I was a man when my Dad told me I was. Apparently, I'm a driver. How might I know? Because a professional performance driver told me I'm a driver. Am I sure of that? No. And maybe more than anything else, that is what makes me a driver.

Every man who has a license to drive thinks he's a driver. Many women do, too. I see them every day on the roads whenever I head in to work, or run an errand to town. Driving too fast. I'm not saying "over the speed limit." I'm saying "too fast." It's pretty safe to say that most people on the roads in the USA don't have the skills necessary to drive 55 mph, let alone the interstate speed limits of 70, 75, or even 80 mph. The truth comes out when something happens, like a deer jumps in front of them. Most don't know how to react, and the reactions they make are usually the wrong ones, resulting in often-fatal crashes.

Or consider driving at night. In basic Driver Education classes, we are taught not to "overdrive" our headlights, yet people regularly drive 70 mph on the Interstate highway using only their low beam headlamps. In one second, the car travels 120 feet. That's about how far you can see with low beams. So that's safe, right? Wrong. When that deer jumps out at the very edge of your vision, it takes 70 feet for you to recognize it and get your foot to the brake. Then another 250 feet to come to a stop. That's nearly three times farther than you can see. Dead deer. Or maybe dead you.

Following too close. Over the limit in a school zone or residential area. Running the speed limit on ice or snow. Making maneuvers in an SUV that should be limited to sports cars. Cutting across three lanes to get off, rather than taking the next exit. Anybody who drives in the city can cite hundreds of examples. But these motorists say to themselves, "No problem. I can handle it." Yeah... right. If you say so.

A driver knows his limits and the limits of his vehicle. A driver knows how far he can see, how far it might take to come to a stop. He's prepared for his exit. He's ready for the unexpected. He has practiced many different maneuvers on a track, and he rehearses them regularly in his mind. He plays the "what if?" game time after time as he travels down the road.

Why does a driver know these things? Why is she prepared? Because a real driver is never really sure that she's a real driver.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains." - John 9:39-41.

Jesus had just healed a blind man on the Sabbath. Some Pharisees found out about it, and by God, somebody was going to pay! They found out it was Jesus, and confronted him. Jesus used the contrast between blindness and sight to show these men that they were sinners. And what is the proof? The very fact that they believed they were without sin. They were certain that they were perfect, and blind to the very real possibility that they were lost.

My haggard mind wonders whenever I hear someone proclaim, with great confidence, that they are bound for the Kingdom of heaven. I pray for them, that they are correct. For Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ - Matthew 7: 22,23

There's a real difference between believers and Christians. Believers just know they are saved. No doubt about it. I'll see you in heaven. But a real Christian is never really sure that she's a real Christian. And hope drives her to keep growing.

Which are you?

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