Admit it. You’ve done it, too.
Maybe you were in some department store at a time when few were around. You could have taken the escalator going in the right direction, but what fun is that? So you looked down to make sure your shoe laces were tied, then stepped onto the rolling metal steps. You shifted into high gear, then started straining against the tide, pumping your legs at double-speed. Chances are you got some dirty looks along the way, but a minute later you raised your arms at the top in Rocky-like triumph:
You made it up the down escalator.
What you did was totally optional. After all, to make it to a higher level, you could have done what you usually do. You could have just taken the “up” escalator. But something strange has been happening lately. More escalators seem to be going down.
Marijuana? “Legalize its recreational use nationally,” some say, even though it is causing big problems for one state that already has.
Pornography? “No big deal,” though South Dakota and Virginia think otherwise.
Coarse language? “They’re only words. Take a chill pill!”
Cheating on exams? “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.”
Undocumented workers and their children? “Send them back to where they came from!” makes a popular talking point, despite the fact that many are high achievers and are contributing to the nation’s well-being.
Lesbian daughter? “Kick her to the curb until she straightens out. What would people at church think, after all?” (So now we have many homeless LGBTQ youth.)
These days, we seem to be flocking to the down escalators, dulling our senses, hardening our hearts and consciences, even as we sink to lower-and-lower levels. To buck the trend – to get to the next floor up – we’ll have to brush off an old skill:
We’ll need to gather our strength, steel our resolve, and walk up the down escalator.
The Bible can help. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:2 (NLT):
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
There are those who resist the tide. Former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson brought his son back home, pulling the talented player from the Nebraska football program. His reason? Keyshawn Jr. got distracted by university party life and was busted for marijuana. He forget why he was there in the first place, to excel at football. Fans applauded the unusual decision by a strict and caring dad.
Thankfully, some “up” escalators still function. Find them and use them; invite others to join you. Volunteer for Little League. Take your son or daughter along to visit an old friend at the nursing home. Make it a family activity to help pass out food at your church’s food pantry. There are many ways to keep your community’s “up” escalators well-oiled and in-service. In so doing, we’ll be modeling – as Rick Warren insists – that “it’s not about you.”
Sometimes your community’s “up” escalators are broken; all escalators are rolling downward. It’s decision time. When you exert yourself and walk up the down escalator, rest assured: You’ll get dirty looks. Pressure will mount for you to go with the flow. Don’t give in! Get enough people walking against the grain and someone’s bound to ask what happened to all the up escalators.
Meanwhile, don’t grow tired. Join with others who are going up and encourage each other. When you land at the top, thank the Lord, then have your moment of Rocky-like triumph, together.
By Yuko Honda from Tokyo, Japan (何の気なしに乗ると予想外の動きをするのでうわっ！てなるエスカレーター。) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons