My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. Proverbs 1:10
Forty-six-year-old Philip Harper showed up at his local pub wearing a SWAT cap and showing off his new bulletproof vest.
With obvious pride and considerable confidence in his vest Mr. Harper asked if there was anyone who might be willing to help him test it out. Nobody took him up on the offer. Not so the next day. The next day was when one of Harper's friends, a British truck driver named Ian Catley, said he would be glad to be of assistance.
The two men put about 20 feet between them. Catley aimed his shotgun and fired. He hit his friend's bulletproof vest dead center. In rapid succession the following happened:
1. The men found out the bulletproof vest wasn't.
2. They realized the plastic-lined vest had served as a funnel, concentrating the shotgun's blast. Immediately, Catley rushed his pal to the hospital where Harper was pronounced dead.
Mr. Catley went on trial for the murder of his buddy. In his ruling, among other things, the judge acknowledged Catley's "remorse is complete and genuine" and "the effects of killing your good friend will last with you for the rest of your life." Then the judge chided: the risk of death or serious injury should have been "absolutely obvious."
Now I might not mention the story at all if, last year, there hadn't been a situation in South Carolina, and another in Maryland, where people died after their friends missed their bulletproof vests and killed them. They also had flirted with "absolutely obvious" danger, and they had lost.
No doubt you are saying, "That's unbelievable! Nobody would do anything that crazy!"
Well, my friends, people do flirt with dangerous temptations, and they do it regularly. Adam and Eve brought sin into this world when they disregarded their Creator and followed the suggestions of a talking snake. Time and again we humans have looked at a temptation and thought, "Hey, I can handle that dangerous situation."
We think it, but we can't.
And we don't.
This is why the loving Lord has given us a very simple bit of advice: He has told us not to go along with someone who is inviting us to sin. It's so obvious a bit of wisdom it shouldn't even need to be said.
We should know not to flirt with danger ... but we don't, which is why we should listen.
We should listen to the Lord who loves us and has given His Son to save us from our sin and rescue us after we've gotten too close to temptation.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive us from being over-confident. Let us realize that we are not as smart as we think, as strong as we believe, or as upstanding as we had hoped. We are sinners in need of a Savior -- sinners who need help and assistance to get through the day. May I give thanks that in the Holy Spirit and my Savior, that assistance is there. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries