It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools will
not turn from evil to attain them.
We were in the final lap of the Winston All-Star Race at the Charlotte Speedway. The year was 1995. I had drafted off of Jeff Gordon and went high on the track to try to pass. I looked to my left and saw Dale Earnhardt drop in on the low side. We were going into the third turn three wideóJeff, Dale and me. Thatís fine if youíre at Talladega. That track is wide enough. But itís not so fine at Charlotte. Itís narrower there. Of the three of us, whoever didnít wreck would win the race.
You need to know that Dale and I were what I call ďfrienemies.Ē Off the track, we were friends. Our motor coaches were parked next to each otherís. But on the track I would rather wreck than let him win. He felt exactly the same way about me. Who would lift [his foot off the gas peddle]? That was the question. I knew that Dale wouldnít. He knew that I wouldnít. Jeff knew that neither of us would, so he lifted, assuming Dale and I would crash each other.
My eyes met Daleís eyes for a split second. Volumes were communicated in that moment without saying a word.
Are you gonna lift?
No way! Are you?
So we did. Daleís front left tire bit into the apron as he drifted too low. When the chassis weight transferred, his vehicle shot up the track. Jeff had pulled out just in time. Daleís car crashed into mine and took us both into the wall. As crazy as it sounds, even though we were doing over 180 miles an hour, we chose to wreck. I broke three ribs, and Jeff Gordon went low, got through and won the race. Dale and I were so set against each other that we lost sight of the bigger picture and the consequences of our actions.
There once was a big pig on a farm in Oregon that was a lot like DW and Dale. This pig was standing at a gate, but the opening was narrower than the hog was wide and the posts on each side were charged with electricity. The porker had been through this gate before and knew the electrifying consequences, so it stood and pondered the options.
The consideration was how long to delay the pain, not whether to inflict it. The mud on the other side was just too desirable. Finally, the curly-tailed oinker began to squeal. The sound rose to a feverish pitch as the pig imitated a dragster at the line revving its engine as the starting lights begin their descent from red to green. The animal tensed, dashed, got zapped and didnít stop squealing until it jumped in the mud.
We are a lot like this pig. We decide to sin and start hollering about the consequences even before we do it. We show remorse over the backlash of adultery on our spouse and children before having an affair, and then we do it anyway. We overspend, knowing full well the cost after the purchase will be greater than the actual price paid. We gossip, knowing the repercussions of our words will last longer than the feeling of being a big shot. Itís the same with an addiction, whether it involves nicotine, alcohol, drugs, pornography or food. We lament the consequences, scream and dash through the gate not realizing that unlike the pig, the zapping can last for the rest of our lives.
Just like the pig thought the mud bath was worth the pain, DW and Dale thought keeping the other guy from winning would be worth the wreck. However, DW lost more than a race. His broken ribs took him out of the point standings that year and started a downward spiral that would become the most difficult period of his life.
In the spiritual realm, sin only takes a moment, but it starts a downward spiral of consequences that last forever. What seems a good idea at the time pales in the light of eternity. Sin is not worth it. Donít get zapped. Donít wreck. Finish the race.
Holy caring and forgiving Shepherd, I donít want to dishonor Your name. I donít want to wreck again. Please heal me from the times I crashed in the past. Give me the courage to stay out of the mud. And forgive me for the times I got in. Thank You.
Todayís reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; John 3:16-21; Ecclesiastes 7:29; 2 Peter 2:22; Proverbs 13:19