Over the years I have discovered that most people really try their best to do what is right. They may not always succeed, but I think they do try their best. When failures come I also am convinced that most people will then feel the press to do what they can to make things right. Once again they may not always succeed, but unless someone is emotionally broken, or they are mentally ill and have no relational skills, they do try to work through things.
How do you respond when you have a chance encounter with that rare individual whose mind and heart have been given over to the dark side? I had such an encounter yesterday, and honestly it caught me completely off guard. I have not lived a sheltered life by any stretch of the imagination, but this brief interaction was so off the charts that it left me speechless, and believe me, that really takes some doing!
It was my yard cleanup day and I was driving my Trailblazer with a load of brush hanging out the back. I stopped, looked both ways, saw no traffic and slowly made a right hand turn off my street. The road was clear and I moved onto the cross street on my way to the brush drop location in town. Just as I moved into my lane a motorcycle shot out from around the end of a building and flew straight out of a driveway just to my left. He was moving at a high rate of speed and had to apply his brakes or run right into the back of me.
I ride a motorcycle and I knew he was going way too fast, but he successfully made the needed maneuver and corrected his own error in judgment. In all honesty had I looked a second time before pulling out I might have seen him, and I definitely would have waited for him to fly by. Fortunately nothing happened, but the moment he realized he had to slow down, the atmosphere shifted. Was he grateful that he had avoided an accident? No.. not hardly! He rode down the street behind me and then roared his engine as he made the next left. However, all the while he was behind me, he was giving me the “one finger salute” and revving his “rice rocket” until it nearly blew a gasket.
What shocked me most of all was the additional dimension he added to this one act play. All I can say is it sounded as if someone had inadvertently broken open the sewer line of hell. What began to flow out of his mouth at the top of his lungs was the most vile, unrelenting, unclean things I have ever heard. It was so bad that people on both sides of the street stopped to look at him, frown and shake their heads in total disgust. There was a level of base vulgarity and pure malevolence vomiting out of his mouth that was so bad it saturated the air around him and made everyone feel unclean. Even after he turned and ripped off down the next street you could hear him screaming filth and obscenities.
What do you do when you have a chance encounter with someone like this? Do you stop and try to reason with them? Do you try to apologize even when it was a mutual mistake and not just your fault? Do you keep going and hope they go away? I’m not so sure there is a simple answer when you come across people who are in this degraded condition. As hard as it may sound, I have to accept the fact that it is not my job to fix every problem. Nor is it my place to discover if someone even wants the problem to be fixed. Some people are so far gone that the best solution is to give them a lot of room and just let them keep going.
As a guide, my father encountered people like this at times in the backwoods of the Adirondacks. When he did, he had one unbreakable rule that he lived by. It was a simple rule that served him quite well over the years. He said, “You don’t pet a rabid dog”. After meeting up with my friend on the motorcycle I think dad’s advice has passed yet another test of time.
This encounter reminded me of why God gave specific instructions to the Jewish nation when they were about to go into the Promised Land. There were certain people groups living in the territory that were to be totally blotted off the face of the earth. Every living thing connected to them had to be put to death. Why? Because they were so far gone, so saturated in sin and the occult, and so given over to demonic influence that they would eventually defile everything they touched. They would never submit to God and their vile influence would defile God’s people, eventually robbing them of the blessing He intended.
Have you encountered a rabid dog lately? If so, my hope is that you did not try to pet it or get it on a leash. Some people are best left alone and eventually the police will deal with them. As for you, let such encounters just roll off your back, pray for them, and don’t allow words that are unclean, vile and filled with vitriolic anger to infect your world. Some things you just have to face with reserved grace and let them blow by. When you do, it costs you nothing but when you don’t everyone may end up paying the price. Better to give room to such people so they can pass by and fade into the distance. Life is way too short to waste any time trying to pet a rabid dog. If you invest your energy in those you love, you’ll be glad you did…. and so will they!
(If you liked this blog please click “like” button below and “follow William Emmons” button to the right. Thanks … and have a great day!)