Rubbernecking is described as the act of gawking at something of interest. It refers to the craning of a person’s neck in order to get a better view. It has also been described as a human trait that is associated with morbid curiosity. Rubbernecking has been said to be the cause of 16% of automobile accidents. If you would like more information on this weird word, then you can check out this Wikipedia page where I found you these educational tidbits.
Last Friday, we had our monthly wheelchair support group meeting here at our church. We had a great crowd that included 10 wheelchair users! If you have been to our church, you know that we are located on a busy highway that runs right through town. If you miss the curve in front of our church, you would hit our building! Now get that scene in your mind, take 10 wheelchair users outside in the parking lot and you will get a much more accurate description of rubbernecking!
As cars came around the curve in front of our church, you have never seen so many necks craning! I am sure that the chiropractors of Adams county were very busy the next day! That’s okay though. If you use a wheelchair, you are used to all of the rubbernecking that goes on anytime you are out in public. I always let my imagination have fun and pretend that I am the only person around and I don’t have a clue who they must be looking at! Other times, when I am more sane, I smile at them and hope that I will reap at least a smile through their stares.
However, there is something that bothers me much more. After talking to my assistant pastor’s wife about this particular subject, I figured that we weren’t the only two people alive that have faced this issue. You know me, when something gets on my mind I have to write!
I am convinced there is way too much rubbernecking going on in our Christian lives. We break our necks trying to see what you have done this week, where have you gone, what were you wearing, who did you go with, where did you eat, what music did you listen to while going there, how much was the car you went in, what was in your shopping cart and how did you afford it or do you get government help, did you discipline correctly while in public and what kind of person are you if you did not use coupons. Should I go on? The point is real simple. It is my trip. Not yours. Right or wrong.
Don’t get offended because I have preached this same little sermon to myself many times. I do not know why in the world my own morbid curiosity gets the best of me! I strain SO hard to see that gnat in your eye. Please don’t tell me that I am the only one that has been guilty of having my nose close to a Facebook photo trying to figure out the gnat in your life. I detest myself for this and ask God to take away this spirit of jealousy, hypocrisy and Pharisaism. He has stripped me of a lot of it through a very hard school called “See your own deficiencies so clearly that it blinds you to everyone else’s.” When you have had a good dose of yourself it is hard to find the taste to analyze anyone else.
I just read an article on this subject of christian liberty by a prominent preacher. He shared the fact that if you have liberties that he does not have and you have the liberty to do what you do, then he has the liberty to preach about what he doesn’t like about it. I would agree to the extent that if I have liberty to do something, then he has the liberty to not do something if he so desires. However, that is where I stop. I do not agree that he has the right to preach against my liberties (with no Bible to back it up – just personal preference) and I in turn, do not have the right to crusade against his.
Let’s get an example in here to make this rambling a bit clearer. I do not like Barbie’s. I have a friend who does not like Disney movies. She likes Barbie’s and I like Disney movies. So, what do we do about that? We both have good reasons for our preferences but that is as far as it goes. I am confident that she is trying to follow the Lord in raising her children and so am I. Is there a slight possibility that God, in His foreknowledge of what our children may struggle with in the years to come, may guide us differently? Can we trust our God enough to let Him rule and lead the lives of others that may not match what He guides us in? This scares us, doesn’t it?
We think that if we make the wrong move, then we will completely destroy our future generations. I agree that there is the reality of bad decisions affecting our future generations, but please let’s not get our perspective and balance out of whack. My decision about liberty and preferences will not be the ruination of my offspring. The ruination will be in me not following the leadership of God in my life. If I follow the leadership of someone else, I may completely miss what God wants for me! There lies the greatest danger! I hate to be so blunt, but it is absolutely not my business how the Lord leads your life. I may not like it or I may not agree with it but I know a God who is capable of leading you. If I think you are wrong, then the best thing I can do is just pray that God will guide you. If He doesn’t guide you the way I think He should (meaning according to my own standards) then it may just be that He does not think you are wrong. Maybe that is just my opinion – not His. I have to be open to that idea. If I am not, it reveals my pride that I think I am always right. I have news for you – I am NOT always right!
God said in II Corinthians 10:12 something that we don’t take seriously enough. He said, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” I am going to be real liberal in my interpretation of this, but for a simple gal like me, God is saying here that it is NOT wise to rubberneck. Curiosity about everyone else’s life will just bring you trouble. More than likely, you are not going to use the information you find out for any good anyway. You will now be tempted to
gossip share it as a prayer request to someone else and then they will share and on and on the vicious cycle goes. I guess we can see why God says it is not wise.
Rubbernecking leads to accidents. It leads to traffic jams. I know when everyone is looking at me in my chair it sure leads to a lot of awkwardness. Truth is, it can lead to a lot of heartache. Let’s all keep our eyes on the trip that God has given us to travel, pray for His guidance and no rubbernecking! Stay safe!