“Look Rose, there’s a blood trail. I should follow it. What if someone’s been stabbed?” My wife and I were sitting in the Brisbane airport whiling away the time, waiting for our flight to Vancouver. That’s when I noticed the big drops of blood on the airport floor leading towards the restrooms. Rose discouraged me from following the blood, suggesting it might have to do with some embarrassing situation. I almost always listen to my wife’s wisdom on such things, so I sat tight.
Just a couple of minutes later, coming from the direction of the restrooms, I noticed a man stumbling around, uneasy on his feet. He had an ugly contusion on his face and blood dripping from a cut finger. He didn’t look drunk – he looked far worse, like someone who was having a stroke. Another passenger and I rushed over to him and we carried him over to a bench. After sitting him down, I called 000, the Australian equivalent of 911. This was clearly some kind of medical emergency. They’d send paramedics ASAP.
The bruised and bleeding man was quite confused. Eventually he was able to tell us a few things. He was an ex-pat Canadian on his way back for a visit. The day before he’d been on his bike and took a bad tumble. We could only guess that he had some kind of head injury as a result, maybe a concussion, maybe worse. It appears that he’d fallen again in the bathroom and that’s probably when he cut himself.
Eventually the airline staff noticed the commotion and got involved. Meanwhile, our injured man was insisting he had to get on the plane to Vancouver. He was quite all right to travel, he said. Both we and the airline staff told him he wasn’t going anywhere. He wasn’t safe to travel. If you’ve had a head injury, the last place you want when it gets worse is to be at 35,000 feet over the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And nobody wanted an unscheduled stop in Vanuatu, Fiji, or Honolulu. As he continued to insist he was getting on the plane, the airline staff insisted all the more that he wasn’t. Once the paramedics came, they took him to a local hospital to get checked out. For him, Canada would have to wait.
For me, I had 13 hours to sit and think about the drama we’d just been involved in. I thought, “It’s crazy that this guy still thought he was all right to fly. He was totally irrational. Any normal person could see that he was in a bad way. But he couldn’t see it. He thought he was fine.”
The thought occurred to me that this is a lot like the irrationality of sin and sinners. Unregenerate sinners have something dangerously wrong with them. They have a condition which is threatening their existence for eternity. But yet they insist they’re fine. There’s nothing wrong. They’re good to fly, so to speak. Meanwhile, they’re blinded to the reality of their plight. It’s like what 1 Cor. 2:14 says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” One of the “things of the Spirit of God” is that we’re sinners and we need Jesus Christ to rescue us from our sin and its consequences. In our natural state, we’re blind to that. That’s crazy – senseless, irrational.
It only changes through the Holy Spirit. He clears the spiritual fog and foolish denial. He gives “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). He renews our minds and our hearts so we can think sensibly. He works so that when someone comes alongside and says, “You’ve got something wrong with you, but I know someone who can help,” we accept that.
When you come across a fellow sinner stumbling through this world hurt and in grave trouble, you can be the one to say, “You need help.” You can be the one to come alongside and be God’s instrument to save a life. It’s crazy when people don’t accept the help they really need. It’s crazy when people insist they’re fine when they’re clearly not. But we’ve still got to try. The love of Christ compels us.