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Be Careful about Carelessness

Sometimes we forget the dangers. Sometimes we get careless.

That happened to a 27-year-old woman in Joliet, Illinois. She drove to a local 7-Eleven to fill a gas can. With the can sitting in the passenger seat, she proceeded to add gas. Not wanting to overflow gasoline onto her upholstery, she needed to see how full the can was. But it was night and the dome light of her car was not working. But her cigarette lighter worked!

They call them “lighters” for a reason. This one lit the gas, exploded the can, and fully engulfing the car in flames. In addition to losing her car, the lady suffered second degree burns to her wrist and leg.

I know what you’re thinking. But before we’re too hard on this woman, remember that she probably used that lighter often without incident. She probably even used it as a light before, maybe inside her car. Perhaps she just forgot that it would be different with gasoline present. It was late; maybe she was just tired.

Or maybe, she was just human. In some ways, we are all prone to similar mistakes. We forget about danger and we get careless in spiritual ways, too.

Consider the apostle Paul’s warning to Christians in Corinth: “if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

As an example, Paul pointed to the nation of Israel, God’s chosen, who were being gloriously led from slavery to the promised land. They were in every way blessed, but they forgot which side their manna was buttered on. They complained about the food. They grumbled against the leaders God had appointed. And “God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert” (v. 5).

Christians and churches in America are in danger of being too complacent, too confident. We delight in declaring our salvation, but may do little to live it out. Too often we gripe about the darkness of the world instead of being its light. Some chaff at being led and reject “organized religion”.

Mostly, we just forget that ours is a dangerous world which will one day soon be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:10). We forget that many will be “thrown into the fire of hell” (Matthew 18:9).

Sometimes we forget the dangers. Sometimes we get careless. As a result, sometimes someone gets burned.


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