Four people were ushered into eternity in a horrible way, ten people were injured, 28 vehicles were wrecked–some burned down to the engine block, and one young man’s life is forever changed as he bears the guilt of causing the horrific crash just a few miles north of our church building. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, just 23 years old, barreled into the vehicles, already at a standstill because of another accident further east on I-70 in Lakewood near Golden. At this time, no official reason has been given for the crash. However, the young truck driver has been charged with four counts of vehicular homicide. Witnesses say his semi was barreling out of control moments before colliding with the others. We have no idea how remorseful this young man is, but it is most likely that he would like to have those moments back. It was tragic, senseless, and, by all counts, preventable.
Scripture has several illustrations to portray the tragedy of a lack of self-control. Solomon likens a man who has no control over his spirit to a city broken into and without walls (Prov. 25:28). A woman who cannot restrain her argumentative ways is easier to control than a person can hold onto the wind or grasp oil with his hand (Prov. 27:15-16). James compares an out of control tongue to a rudderless ship, an unbridled horse, and a forest fire started by a small fire (3:2ff).
Just one person’s lack of self-control in sexual desire has destroyed marriages, harmed families, ravaged congregations, and the like through fornication, pornography, and adultery. Just one person’s lack of self-control in speech has split churches, ended relationships, revealed destructive secrets, and condemned souls. Just one person’s lack of self-control in attitude has caused impressible people to stumble, provided a horrible example which others followed, and brought about a shameful family legacy through learned behavior. Just one person’s lack of self-control of his or her thoughts has wrought “fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22).
We may influence others, but we can only hope to control ourselves. The best way to do that is to allow the love of Christ to control us (2 Cor. 5:14). If we can appreciate the damage caused by others’ loss of control, let us be motivated never to allow such in our own lives! We may not be able to foresee what we cause, but we know it could be far more than we imagine.