I hopped on the bike and rolled out of West Lafayette, IN, about six in the morning, heading back to my beloved log cabin in Taos. I helped John get married, and yes, we pranked him. I convinced a bridesmaid who had a key to their apartment that I could be trusted, so we removed all the labels from the cans, put Kool Aid in the shower heads, Saran Wrap under the toilet seats—all the typical stuff. But that’s not the key part of the story.
The wide Kansas plains seemed flat and featureless and boring. I confess I broke the law. My Honda 750 cruised easy at 90-100, and out of the 100’s of cars I flew by, I remember two.
Passing a modest sedan, the young woman driver had a frightened appearance, as did the two young girls in the back seat. Just ahead was a 70’s muscle car with four guys, all looking back at the woman. They slowed down so she could pass them, then they sped up to pass her. Once she pulled into a rest area, but they waited at the exit until she came along. I cruised slowly, keeping an eye open.
Finally, she pulled over to the side and the guys stopped about 100 feet ahead of her. 100 yards ahead of them, I stopped too. They got out of their car. Heart pounding, I got off the bike. Images of being beaten halfway to death raced through my mind, balanced with the scared look on her face. I was in good shape, just 28 then, but no UFC guy.
But I soon learned the value of image. My Honda was slightly chopped with a custom paint job and my hair flowed down to the shoulders of my leather riding shirt. They saw me, jumped back in the car, accelerated into a 180 across the grassy median, and were gone in the proverbial cloud of Kansas dust.
Not wanting to scare her more, I just walked back to my bike and she drove by with a small, grateful wave. I waited there to see if they’d come back, but they didn’t.
Slowly, my pulse returned to normal, and I pondered the risk I took. I’m not particularly courageous, but I knew something had to be done. The point is: followers of Jesus should do the right thing. Without counting the cost. Yeah, I know Jesus told us to count the cost, but that was a different context. Edmund Burke’s line haunts me, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
That makes me wonder—if we do nothing in the face of evil and wrong, are we truly good? Can we, believers in a good God, play it safe when confronted with evil? Let’s get more complicated. We can’t fix all wrongs, so how do we decide when to act? How do we balance the possible risk versus the possible gain?
Kick Starting the Discussion
What areas might God be calling you to make a stand on, that are biblically based? Could it be to protect others, to do the right thing, to stand for good when others seem to not care? What costs might come along if you did that? What keeps you from being willing to pay any costs? Should it? What standards do you use when determining to take a stand or not? And, most vitally of all, how does God fit into all of this?