Yesterday the world commemorated the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
While I’ll be the first to admit that news and politics don’t often get much attention from my thoughts, this particular event has. Maybe it’s the tragedy. Maybe it’s the image of Rose on that plank desperately clinging for life while she lets another fade into the sea. Either way, my heart has been heavy.
For 100 years there has been much speculation as to why the mighty ship sank. Of course, I don’t intend to clear that up in this blog post. But, one fact has really plagued me.
Captain Smith ignored SEVEN warnings that there were dangerous icebergs in the specific area that his ship was headed. Surrounding ships had stopped for the night because of the danger. But he refused. He was motivated by the desire to make record time. He was motivated by pride.
As I’ve pondered this truth, I can’t help but wonder how I can learn from his mistakes. After all, it has been said that history repeats itself. And while I don’t foresee that I will ever be the captain of a cruise liner, I do have great responsibility for the lives around me.
Lessons Learned from the Titanic
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18
Pride leads to destruction. Captain Smith was confident that his ship was better than the others. He ignored warnings because the voice of pride was whispering much louder. He wanted to be the fastest. He wanted to be the best. But being the best, always has a price tag. One that is often far more expensive than the accolades that we so greatly seek.
Think about it:
Am I listening to the advice of godly counsel?
Am I seeking my own agenda above the agenda of others?
Have I asked God what He wants?
Do I often feel like other people just aren’t as smart as I am?
The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Prov. 27:12
ALWAYS be prepared for danger. Did you know that Captain Smith was supposed to conduct a lifeboat drill, but canceled it? While it isn’t wise to live life in fear, we MUST be prepared for the storm.
Think about it:
Am I using resources to strengthen my marriage?
Am I teaching my children how to think their way out of a problem?
Do my children know what to do if a stranger approaches them? If they get lost?
Do I have an emergency kit in my car?
Have I memorized scripture to help guard my heart?
Am I protecting my family from internet predators? Pornography?
Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. Psalm 146:3
Never put all of your trust in man. When parts of the Titanic were recovered, it was discovered that the shipbuilder cut corners and used sub-standard iron. It was also said that the shipbuilder cut corners by not building the watertight compartments as high as he should have. Whether he knew about these cuts or not, Captain Smith put all of his trust in the architecture of this ship. This trust was fatal.
Think about it:
When trouble comes, do I run to the phone or to my knees?
Do I abandon God’s truth for scientific “proof”?
Am I teaching my children to recognize the lies of the world?
For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:5
Don’t blame someone else for your mistakes. Did you know that many people have blamed a nearby ship for the loss of lives on the Titanic? The ship had warned the Titanic of the dangers and then stopped for the night. They turned off their radio and went to bed. When the Titanic made calls of distress, they were not heard and this ship was the only one close enough to have saved most (maybe all) of the passengers. I am astounded that anyone would blame them. Yet, according to many newspapers and historians, this ship was to blame. How is it that we figure that when we are negligent we should be saved by someone else?
Think about it:
Do I evaluate a situation to see what I could have done better?
Am I teaching my children to take responsibility for their part or do I always look at what the offender has done?
Do I find myself always wondering why other people make my life so miserable?
Do I often make excuses for my actions?
I can’t imagine what it would feel like to do something that costs 1517 people their lives. Something that might have been avoided if I had simply not been so proud or simply been more prepared. The pondering of lessons from history has led me to one conclusion. I’m writing this down: My choices greatly affect the lives of those around me. Only by the grace of God can I expect to have a positive impact on those lives. Humbly, expectantly, trusting in Him.
There are many things I think we can learn from this tragedy. What would you add?