By George Bowers Sr.
Our float trip down the River of Life is quite an adventure.
Some sections are tranquil and calm while others are furiously swift. The scenery along the banks can be breathtaking in some areas and fairly disgusting in others. As we maneuver down this river, we must be careful to steer our rafts to avoid the watery hazards along the way.
Inevitably, we will encounter some dangerous rapids and treacherous passes. In such places it is important to rely on the River Guide (also known as the Bible) that has been prepared for us. In addition, advice from fellow navigators who have already passed this way can be quite helpful if we will but heed it.
Imagine such a trip on a nice cloudless day when all is going well. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the fish are jumping. Suddenly, in the midst of your peaceful quietude, someone on the river bank starts yelling. He says that you are quickly approaching a high and deadly waterfall and that you must change course at once.
"Surely not," you think, "there's no way with all this calm water." But he insists that he himself has gone over the cliff and barely survived. Indeed, he appears injured and bruised. In addition, you notice signs on the bank that say, "Danger Ahead," but several are overgrown and hard to read.
Because it's your own raft and your own choice, you chose to ignore these warnings. You reason, "He just wants to ruin my fun." Besides, he seems half crazy and those signs are so old, they can't possibly still apply. And so you continue to float toward imminent destruction.
Such is the case for many today floating down life's river ignoring the river guide and the ancient signs, as well as numerous warnings from those who've been hurt. Increasingly, we call such warnings "hate speech" and "narrow-minded judgmentalism." We mistake their sincere love, earnestness, and good intentions for fanaticism and control. And so millions careen carelessly past the point of no return toward the miserable consequences of their life choices, sadly followed by eternal destruction.
If this describes you, please heed Jesus' warnings and accept his invitation to join him on his boat in which he will pilot you safely through life's river home.
George Bowers is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, "Wit and Wisdom of the Woods." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.