Brian and I were on a beautiful hike in Canyonlands National Park, and ahead of us was what appeared to be a sweet family – a mother, a son, and a dad – hiking on summer vacation. What they were doing, however, was terrifying!
Mom was moving toward the edge of the canyon cliff, pulling her son with her, so that dad could take a photo. Brian and I were just far enough away that they couldn’t hear us whispering to each other “It isn’t worth it!”
Think about it, a sneeze, a gust of wind, a loose rock, startled by a snake or chipmunk (yes, there were chipmunks!) and this mother and child would fall to their inevitable death. Seriously. It was that dangerous.
But do we dare say anything? Is it any of our business? Do we remain silent and walk past them? Do we let them do what they want to do without saying a word, without pointing out the danger? Do we silently pray for their protection? What do we do?
As we walked by, stepping out of his comfort zone and speaking loud enough for them to hear, Brian said, “It isn’t worth it.” Immediately the dad responded, “He’s right. It isn’t worth it. I’m not going to take the picture; come back.”
Why on earth would someone stand on the edge of a rock on the edge of a cliff on the edge of a canyon for any reason? Why risk everything for a photo op? Why didn’t the dad say “No” to begin with?
Social Media? Social pressure? A moment of fleeting fame? A lapse in judgment? Who knows. Truth be told, we can all ask ourselves those same questions about a whole lot of risks we take, when in most cases the risk isn’t worth it.
Why do we insist on walking on the edge of the path on the edge of sin? Don’t we know that one tiny misstep and we are goners? One click of the mouse. One conversation in private. One lunch for two. One drink. One smoke. One pill. One closed door. One compromise. One little white lie. One indulgence. It isn’t worth it.
Why risk everything for a dangerous moment of excitement or pleasure? Just because we think we have enough wiggle room to experience the thrill without getting hurt, have we forgotten that eventually there will always be a hefty bill to pay? It isn’t worth it.
On the other end, Brian and I were hesitant to say anything. Why? Why are we afraid to say something when our family or friends start talking about, or moving toward, something foolish? Why do we stand and watch, perhaps even documenting their disasters for them?
Are we so afraid of losing friendship, love, attention – perhaps their willingness to support our indiscretions – that we let people we love do things we know are not safe? Wouldn’t we be a better friend if we loved them enough to say out loud, “It isn’t worth it.”
We know that an offended friend is hard to win back, however, are you truly a good friend if you don’t say anything? Worse than that, are you validating risky behavior by your silence? Aren’t wounds from a sincere friend better than many kisses from an enemy (Proverbs 27:6).
Every Christian has a voice within telling us every single time sin presents itself, that it isn’t worth it. That voice is the Holy Spirit. Our responsibility is to listen to him, to heed his warnings, and move away from the edge.
He will tell us the moment we contemplate taking that first wrong step, our own ears will hear him. Right behind us a voice will say, “this is the way you should go, walk in it (Isaiah 30:21). We know when we are getting too close to the edge, he lets us know.
The problem is that we tune out his voice when the edge looks enticingly beautiful, when we don’t want to believe him, or when we simply want to do what we want to do.
We deceive ourselves with the lie that we can move just a little closer and that we can stop when we’ve gone too far. We only want to find out what all the fuss is about; make sure we aren’t missing out on something that is fun, exciting, or good. We are the only one who can convince ourselves that it isn’t worth it – but we don’t.
Our culture insists that we let people do what they want to do, and Brian and I felt awkward saying anything to this couple. Yet, when Brian listened to the quiet prompting within, instead of the roar of the culture, he gave a clear warning: it isn’t worth it.
That warning was sufficient to empower the dad to step up and pull his family back to safety. Who needs to hear you say, “it isn’t worth it” even as their own voice is drowning out the Holy Spirit? Could your voice empower someone who is on the brink of doing something foolish to pull back?
A loyal friend is always reliable. Are you a friend who warns with gentleness and love when the edge of disaster is in sight? Who do you know that needs to hear a warning? Will you share this blog, call, text, email, or knock on their door and say, “it isn’t worth it,” because it is not.
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