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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Evangelism (11/01/07)

TITLE: Hindsight
By Rachel Burkum


Hindsight is 20/20. That’s what they told me, and I never was quite sure what it meant. Until now.

Most people find it difficult to review their past mistakes. Me…I find it a most horrific task. Seeing what I did, or rather what I didn’t do, makes my stomach churn worse than finding that chunky milk in the back of the refrigerator.

Reaching back as far as I can into my memory, I believe it started in high school. There was this other guy…Darin. He and I somehow ended up hanging out together more often than not. I was from the warm, caring family that, from the outside, looked perfect. He, on the other hand, was from a broken home that was slowly eating away at his self-esteem and outlook on life in general.

I saw the problem at the time. I could see he needed help. And I held the answer in the palm of my hand. But just like I stuffed those empty gum wrappers into my pocket, so went the one greatest thing I could share. Uttering the name of Jesus, unless in the middle of a flippant curse, just wasn’t cool.

Darin committed suicide during his junior year of high school.

You’d think that something like that would wake me up. Unfortunately, my ego and whatever that thing is in my head they call a brain, didn’t want to accept the horrid truth. I had failed.

It happened again when I was in college. I really liked Sarah. She liked me too…at least that’s what I convinced myself of. I faithfully…usually…sometimes went to church that year. Sarah didn’t have much free time, and Sunday mornings were simply the most convenient time to see each other. Church? The issue was on the tip of my tongue once. But approaching the subject of God just wasn’t something I felt needed to be tackled. She was nice…wasn’t that all that mattered?

She’s somewhere in California now, married to a movie star and hooked on fame, fortune and drugs. Yessiree, I did a good job on that one, too.

A few years ago, I got the job of a lifetime. Right up there on the tenth floor in a nice air-conditioned office. Apart from shooting paper airplanes across the hall, I had a lot to do with my coworker, Vance. Nice guy. Family. Kids. You’d think he’d be happy. But he was lacking that one thing that could bring peace.

But divulging the secret that I was a Christian in front of the other guys in the break room…I didn’t consider myself crazy enough.

Vance divorced six months ago. He’s living somewhere between here and the nearest bridge. I think I saw him last week down by the shelter.

My hindsight gets nearer to perfection every day. And the more I see what I’ve really done, the sicker I feel. I didn’t just fail those people – I failed God. I failed myself. And I call myself a Christian. I’m no more worthy to wear that title than my neighbor’s pig, wallowing in a mixture of mud and his own filth.

The nice thing about hindsight though, is that if used properly, it can be a tool to prevent history from repeating itself. I may be green around the gills while contemplating my shortcomings. But I’d much rather be sick temporarily and know it, than be sick for a lifetime and never realize I’m dying.

I’ve got a new neighbor. His name is Zack. Something tells me that he needs a relationship with the Lord, and I’m left standing at a fork in the road. One way is the same path I’ve headed down all my life. It’s the “Evangelize-When-Convenient” route. The easy one. The nice, wide path.

The other way is narrower and quite a ways out of my comfort zone. It’s the “Live-Like-Jesus” route. It’s got road signs reminding weary travelers that wearing the name of Christ is not something to be taken lightly. It provides a clear view of the truth – that showing Christ to others requires living a life of faith…a life of courage…a life of love.

To live out Christ is to share. If I don’t tell them, who will?

Hindsight is 20/20. What does your future look like?

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/08/07
What a challenge this is to be a live-like-Jesus Christian. I'm glad you changed your MC's "might-have-been's" to "I will's."
Lynda Schultz 11/08/07
Excellent! We can all identify with this, and you've written it so well.
Deborah Engle 11/11/07
Very good! You showed the consequences of our difadence and unconcern in a very believable way, inspiring me to look for opportunities to tell about my Lord.
terri tiffany11/12/07
This is the best I've read so far! Good voice - I like your details and how you wove your beginning all the way through. But most importantly, you convicted me as I thought of my own neighbor of 6 years who I wave to every Sunday when I go to church and they sit on their patio drinking themselves into oblivion.
Betty Castleberry11/12/07
Ouch. You stepped on my toes. Good voice. Very well done.
william price11/12/07
I too enjoyed the voice of this toe smashing piece. God bless.
Jan Ross11/12/07
Hindsight is certainly incriminating! Very well done--powerfully convicting. Great work. :)
LauraLee Shaw11/13/07
This is EXTREMELY thought-provoking. I am drawn to your conversation style and found myself wanting to "chime in."

My favorite parts are the fork in the road at the end and also this line:
"I faithfully…usually…sometimes went to church that year."
Jan Ackerson 11/13/07
A wonderful voice on this piece! Something for us all to think about.
Dee Yoder 11/14/07
How come we always think the "other" Christians should be evangelizing and not us? Good story and very thought-provoking. I recognized myself a time or two in the MC.
Joanne Sher 11/15/07
When did you become me??? ;) Rachel, this piece spoke to me like nothing else I read this week. Even if you hadn't ECed, just know that God probably had you write this piece just to minister to/admonish ME! Oh - and congrats.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/15/07
Your talent stirred the hearts of all who read this. I pray this finds a wonderful publication home.