A few years ago we took a trip to Volcan Arenal here in Costa Rica. One of the things we chose to do during our time there was to go horseback riding up the volcano. It was a 3 hour ride, which sounded like a lot to me. But I’ve done trail rides before, so I figured I could handle that. What I didn’t count on was the rough terrain on the volcano side… and the afternoon rain. I grew more miserable by the minute.
To top off my misery, I had the STUPIDEST horse in the history of the world!! His mouth was like leather on the inside so he wouldn’t respond to any of my directions. The trail guide even gave me a switch to swat him with to keep him moving. The reason why I say he was stupid was because he took the longest and hardest way THROUGH every obstacle we encountered. If there was a mud puddle, he went through the deepest part of it while the others walked around the hole. If there was a washed out gully, he jumped right down into it while the others picked their way around the top. If there was a rocky ledge, my stupid horse wanted to jump off of it while the others stayed in the grass. I hated this horse. I swear he was trying to kill me. For 3 hours I fought with this beast who refused to obey me and insisted on going his own way. He was stubborn and stupid.
He actually reminds me of many people I’ve met along the trail of life. I know people who have insisted on plunging full steam into sin even when others have warned them not to go down that path. These stubborn people refuse to heed the warning signs that the gully is deep and the ledge is rocky. They jump right down into the pit without thinking of how they will get out of it. And the worst of it is, if you warn them, “that mud puddle looks deep,” they will look at your clean shoes and say, “how do you know it’s bad if you don’t go into it?” Now if that’s not the stupidest argument you’ve ever heard… I don’t have to go into the mud to know it will make me dirty. In the same way, I don’t have to sample all the sins out there to know that they are bad for me.
That’s why I have common sense. I can look at the examples of the people who have gone ahead of me in life and make good decisions based on the results of their actions. I don’t have to personally test out every cause and effect to learn which action I prefer. We used to have kids in the youth group who would argue with me and say, “You’ve never smoked or drank before, so how can you tell us not to do it? You don’t even know what it’s like!” And I always responded the same way. I would say, “I don’t have to walk through the mud to know that it will make me dirty.” It’s just common sense, which apparently isn’t as common as I would have thought.