On my way to intercession this afternoon, I came across a couple of kids fighting across the street from church. They were surrounded by a mixed audience of children of about the same age. I beeped my horn and told them to stop fighting at once. They considered their options, retrieved backpacks, and continued on their way home. As it was likely that the fight would resume once they turned the corner, I turned the car around, wound down the window and put my flashers on, creeping alongside them and yes, I was intent on following them home. I wasn’t certain what would happen when I got there, but for the moment it was enough to give everyone a chance to cool down. Silently, I prayed they’d become a generation of peacemakers.
After they had recovered from the shock that I was in fact escorting them home and I had declined an offer of potato chips, I told them that I’d stopped fighting in 5th grade when it occurred to me that I had a choice that would set the tone for my life then and there. I added that third grade reading levels are used to determine the location of new prison construction, that I work at the local community college, had gone all the way in school, and had high expectations for each of them.
When I mentioned that I had been on my way to the church they’d been fighting in front of, Aguilas, three of the maybe seven youths volunteered which churches they attended: Mountaintop, Shadow Ridge & New Antioch. Among the many thoughts that arose since this afternoon the one I most want an answer to is, what can we do to discourage bystander behavior in the body of Christ?