A friend of mine is a scientist by training. He is a measured man who sees life from a unique scientific perspective. He evaluates available evidence to come to his conclusions. Something happened to him and his young family this week that affirmed his ability to quickly assess a situation and take appropriate action.
My friend and his wife and their newborn went to a home improvement box store just before closing to get some hardware. When they exited the store, a man pulled his car alongside their car and began to verbally assault my friend for no reason. They had never met before that moment. The family quickly buckled their baby in the car seat and got into their vehicle. The man then exited his car and began to cuss, make wild accusations, and beat on their hood and windows with his fists.
Using his car as a shield and driving with skill, my friend was able to push the man out of the way with his bumper and escape. While my friend drove away, his wife called the police. It was a terrifying ordeal. He made all the right decisions to deescalate and escape. I was proud of how he handled the situation.
I shared this story to remind all of us that we are living in very tense times – spiritually tense times. Road rage, unprovoked violent acts, and unreasonable escalation are prowling our streets looking for an opportunity. These negative interactions are the playground of demonic beings who live to create fear, shed blood, and create a culture of anarchy using unwitting people to do their bidding.
We can over-spiritualize our faith and create a false reality telling ourselves that those who think about such things are living in fear or we can choose to live in a practical spirituality that realizes bad things can happen to good people and that being discerning and prepared is reasonable. We need to ask the Lord for deeper levels of discernment as we navigate through this time of increasing social discord as our culture continues to fragment. Scripture is filled with dramatic escapes that read like a movie script. Our lives should tell similar stories.
My friend discerned early that his situation might escalate by how the man aggressively drove into the parking lot, the kind of car he drove, and the pornographic decals displayed in his windows. Not all threats are so obvious. Some are masked as a way to get even closer to us to do their intended damage. I don’t write the following to have you just read it and move on. Pause for a moment and ask the Lord for the discernment required to see a negative situation developing and be able to take an appropriate course of action before its dangerous potential is realized. Your life and the lives of your loved ones may depend on the discerning decisions you make.