Living On The Margin

The BBC headline today read “I woke in a stranger’s bed, says university rape victim.” The lead on the story says, “Alice Irving woke up in a stranger’s bed after a night out drinking during her second year as a graduate student.” The article goes on to report that Alice accused the stranger of rape, stating she had been in no fit state to give consent for sex.

No doubt, having a sexual encounter while drunk and unable to give consent is rape and should be punished accordingly. I have no intention of excusing any rapist’s behavior. I do, though, believe there is a lesson to be learned that could help prevent these types of events from happening. That lesson is—everything we do and everywhere we go changes our odds for certain events to take place.

I am the father of five adult children, and I’ve always taught them, “Nothing good happens past midnight.” Obviously, that’s not totally true, but it is true that if teenagers are home in bed asleep between midnight and sunrise, the chances of them getting into trouble, or being harmed in a car accident, or involved in late-night violence decreases significantly.

People who are in Church on Sunday mornings are very seldom killed in hunting accidents on Sunday mornings.

People who never take heroin do not overdose on heroin.

Our choices change our odds, and when we make choices, they are our responsibility whether they are thoughtful decisions or the result of foolish impulses.

All adults know that alcohol lowers inhibitions. So is it surprising that most date rapes happen after people have been drinking together? As I said earlier, it does not justify the rape, but it does involve a conscious decision to lower your inhibitions and be around other people who are also lowering theirs. Thus, everyone is choosing to take greater risks.

Trinity Gay, the 15-year-old daughter of Olympian Tyson Gay, was tragically shot and killed at 4:00 in the morning. No excuse for it, and the shooters need to be arrested, tried, and convicted. There is simply no justification for a tragedy like this, but if Trinity had been in bed at 4:00 in the morning, she would have increased her odds of avoiding this tragedy. But instead, by choosing to be out at 4:00 in the morning, she lowered her odds for safety.

I know it’s true that people also get shot at 4:00 in the afternoon, but the odds are lower for anyone to be shot at 4:00 in the afternoon than they are for someone to be shot at 4:00 in the morning. That’s my point – we can all affect our odds.

I believe it’s wise to treat people with respect, have manners, and respond when any authority asks us to do something. Those ideas increase our odds for living a long, prosperous life. However, if we choose to be disrespectful to others, or to be belligerent in public, or to challenge authority, our odds change.

You are safer if you drive the speed limit, wear your safety belt, and pay attention to the road. Certainly, some people do this and still get killed in car accidents. But the chances of getting killed in a car accident goes up for those who speed, don’t wear their safety belts, or are distracted.

Your odds of having the funds you need to live a comfortable life are also better if you have an education or training that gives you marketable skills. My friend Peter Sekovski says some think an education is too expensive, but he argues it’s not nearly as expensive as ignorance. But then again, it’s the odds.

Football players have a greater chance of having knee and brain problems later in life. Basketball players can look forward to greater chances of lower back pain as they age. People who have children out-of-wedlock have a greater chance of needing counselors and lawyers later in life to work with their kids. It’s the odds. We all need to be aware of them.

Going to a party? How will the people and activities at the party change your odds of having a bright future? How would those odds change if you went to a Bible study instead? Just a thought.

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9 thoughts on “Living On The Margin

  1. Yolie Parsons says:

    Amen!!!! Thank you for your wise input!!! Love, Yolie

  2. Laura Lisle says:

    Yes! Thank you! With no disrespect meant to those mentioned, we have got to teach our young people to use common sense. And gosh, maybe practice some ourselves?

  3. michelle fay says:

    Well said

    Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy S® 6.

  4. Barb says:

    It’s about weighing the logical consequences and taking responsibility for our choices. Society wants to have choices, but ignores the fact that they are then responsible for the consequences of their choice.

  5. Tim kerr says:

    This blog is excellent and makes a lot of sense to me. I just wish America would turn back to this type of thinking. I have been sharing the gospel at work with a 23 year old young man.he loves rapping and cursing under his breath while he is working.the curses include dissing women. Then he started wearing saggy jeans and showing his underwear . He was then demoted to cleaning the parking lot. He cannot understand why he was demoted. His parents did not teach him how things really work in life. Sad.

  6. Mike says:

    Thank you, thats the truth because of my own mistakes it was at early morning, and today I am paying for losing a good women and two out of our four children not talking to me. Point sin does pay but not in a positive way

  7. Deb Shaffer says:

    Living on the margin contains some very thought provoking statements. They say that “hindsight is 20/20”. I hate to admit that looking back on situations some hard times could have been prevented if I would have taken a pause or selah. We live in a microwave society and tend to not take precautions for later on.

  8. Ward Rehkopf says:

    Right on the money Pastor Ted – how true this is!! We all need to take a close look at ourselves rather than a blanket blame on society for all our problems and woes. Thanks for the boldness in pointing out how we are all responsible for our own actions and must be willing to bear the consequences of our choices. Our God gives us free will and forgiveness, but we still have to live with the consequences.

  9. Lisa Milloy says:

    So good to hear wisdom speak.

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