By Tim McClure
Decades ago I remember reading the news about a woman who was brutally beaten, raped and left for dead in the streets of Baltimore where I grew up. The word pictures haunted me for decades and even still now make me cringe with emotional rage. What was even more outrageous was the story revealed that there were by standers who closed their doors, pulled their curtains and turned up their television to drown out the cries. When the neighbors were asked later why they didn’t do something, they answered, “I didn’t want to get involved.”
How could this have happened in America? Even today when you read stories or listen to people talk about domestic problems around them, or civic issues that demand someone do something, the cliché usually is, “that has nothing to do with me.” Perhaps you’ve heard the answers or excuses, “I didn’t want to risk my family getting involved,” or “it was none of my business to say anything.” Even our local authorities or media suggests that we are supposed to go into our homes and lock the doors.
I call this the “Driveway Syndrome.” So long as it doesn’t affect my driveway I’m not interested in it. I am reminded of Phillip, my son in law who was standing by the river with friends when a woman walked out into the river and tried to drown herself. With a “knee jerk” reaction Phil jumped into the water and swam out to rescue her even when she didn’t want to be saved. My son Timothy was walking through the Walmart parking lot when a girl was being accosted by a former boyfriend. She began to scream and call for help. Timothy ran over to them and told the man to leave her alone. Well, after the man swung at my son trying to hit him, Timothy used his martial arts training to flip the man to the ground before he knew it.
I read and hear seemingly every week where our corrupt politicians who steel and lie to the American public and the American public sits back and doesn’t protest, write letters or make phone calls voicing opposition. “Why don’t you do something about it” I ask? And again, I hear, “I don’t want to get involved.” I maintain that so long as the problem, corruption, sin or civic evil doesn’t affect them personally (their marriage, job, children) they are satisfied to go about their lives “looking the other way.”
Brothers and sisters, please hear this prophetic voice. We cannot “close our doors, draw our curtains and turn up the volume of indifference” toward the hundreds and thousands of men, women and children who are going to hell in a hand basket. We Christians don’t have the luxury of ignoring the corruption going on around us. We crusaders of Christ are not permitted by God to “sit idly by” while a city, state or nation gets sucked into another liberal media heresy. Paul compels, “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you.” Allow me to suggest that the doctrine of a “Driveway Syndrome” is a sin to believers. We are not permitted to say, “I don’t want to get involved.”
David cried with an eternal plea, “No man cared for my soul” (Ps 142:4). When the disciples forsook Christ to “save their own hide” it was betrayal. When Absalom left his father, it was rebellion. When Edom refused to help Israel fight her enemies but sat by and did nothing, it was cursed by God. Dare we follow the crimes of evil men who “close their doors and draw their curtains” while those around us fall off into eternity without Christ? Dare we justify our “Driveway Syndrome” as a justified sickness caused by our own stressed schedules? Dare we stand by the fire of our own comfort with profanity bleeding from our complaints as Peter?
I with a resounding NO scream to me first and then to the rest of the body of Christ to walk out into the streets of conflict and corruption and GET INVOLVED. Yes, I’m tired too. Yes, I’m too busy with my family too. Yes, I’m visiting family, taking kids to games, and helping shop with the necessities. “Let us go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come into God’s house that it might be full.” Please, allow this word be your immunization shot against the “Driveway Syndrome.”
By Dr. Tim McClure
I’m A Nice Visitor
“I never complain – I never create a scene. When I go to church, I never offer an objection if the usher leads me down a long aisle to a bad seat because all the members of the church have the best seats. No, I just take my assigned seat. I’m a nice visitor.
I never growl when I have to push by and walk over the feet of selfish church members who hog the aisle seats and would not move out of their favorite places if it meant the salvation of a soul. Oh no, I just sit down meekly. I am the ideal church stranger. I’m a nice visitor.
I never reprimand young people who sit close to me talking, chewing gum and giggling. I’m too polite to complain. At the close of the service, as I walk toward the door, I never make a scene if no one speaks to me or shakes my hand. No, they gather in their little cliques and don’t pay attention to me. I’m a nice visitor.
I’ll tell you what else I am. I am the visitor who never visits that church again. That’s my way of revenge for not being welcomed. I know when I am not wanted. I can sense when the church members are cliquish and unfriendly. I can tell when they lack interest in the spiritual welfare of the visitors. I, of course, am too nice to say anything. I just go to some other more hospitable, friendly church. I won’t bother to explain, I’m a nice visitor.
I won’t make a complaint or tell the pastor, I’m a nice visitor. I just won’t ever return to that church. There are millions of men and women just like me in the world that could be reached and become members of churches if only members would show a little hospitality and caring. You see, we roam from church to church trying to find a caring loving church filled with members who are interested in our needs. However, I would never tell any church member that, because, you see, I’m a nice visitor.”
This article “Driveway Syndrome” written by Tim McClure is excerpted from Promise Land Newsletter the November 2007 edition.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”