The Right Wrong Thing

Two of my students serve as volunteer firefighters, and today we have a brief discussion about why one shouldn’t open windows during a house fire. You never want to add oxygen to a fire. If a fire begins in the oven, don’t open the oven. Keep it closed; remove the source of oxygen.

The conversation reminds me of how much I do the wrong thing, that seems right, because of instinct. Back in 2014, I wrote this about a similar revelation:

We were in an elevator:

My daughters observe the signs in elevators that tell you to use the stairs in case of a fire.

This makes no sense if you’re interested in a fast way out. Wouldn’t the elevator take you out faster than the stairs? If the building is going down in flames, wouldn’t the elevator make so much more sense?

No! Never! We learn that fires interfere with electrical systems and can trap us inside malfunctioning elevators. Also, since smoke and flames rise up in the elevator shaft, the elevator can quickly become an inferno. We’d be cooked!

I’ve been thinking of the principle that the safest and best way out isn’t always the fastest. When we feel trapped in a situation, we often go to that thing that promises a fast exit. A much better principle is to stop and think about the thing that’s promising freedom. What if that thing is just another trap in itself? What if that thing will create even more heat in your life?

No thank you. I’ll take the stairs.

I remember that the thing I’m eyeing that promises some way out often isn’t a way out at all.

Proverbs 14:12 warns: There’s a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Even more in 2014, I want the wisdom to take the way that leads to life. I want the path of righteousness, peace, and joy. I don’t need easy or fast; I’ll take slow and safe. I’ll take life.

God, lead me down right paths.

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