Every action has a reaction

Drinking has become a rite of passage in America, but if people are not careful that choice can impact their life and others.

Three members of the Rinehart family from Newburgh had their lives cut short because of the actions of one young man who chose to drink and drive.

Ruth (74) and Sophie (17) and David her father and the worship director at Crossroads Christian Church, passed away on that day. Josie (18) was the only Rinehart survivor.

Their Honda Civic sat on the side of the road after hitting a deer around 3:22 a.m.

Mason Hartke, a 19-year-old Jasper resident who was visiting friends in Bloomington, chose to drink and then get behind the wheel of a Chevy Colorado.

Before the Indiana State Trooper could make it to the scene at 3:59 a.m., Hartke’s truck slammed into the small car at a speed exceeding 70 miles-per-hour.

Hartke broke his arm in the wreck and will face a laundry list of charges, including three counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death and three counts of reckless homicide. Two hours after the wreck took place, Hartke blew a 0.16 which is twice the legal limit.

Hartke had his whole life ahead of him. No doubt this night of drinking will detour his future plans. Josie will no longer get to hear her father lead worship service or spend time with the members of her family that died that day.

People have the right to do what they want, but not everything is beneficial or constructive.

“No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24.

I am not telling you that you cannot drink because I don’t try to push my beliefs on others, but that verse in Corinthians really struck me hard after reading of David’s death.

Certainly we live in a society where we are free. We have the right to do as we please, for the most part. However, not every action bears positive fruit or leads down a positive path.

Before committing to an action that is self-pleasing, ask yourself if it may harm another.        

If you choose to drink, do it responsibly. Always have a designated driver before the night begins. Also remember that not everyone drinks alcohol. Being able to say no to peer pressure builds character.

We are in the holiday season. Christmas is around the corner and then New Year’s Eve. Many people will engage in drinking alcohol and this means there is a high likelihood that someone on the road may be impaired at some time during your travels.

Don’t increase your odds of heartache by making it you.

I want you to think about the Rineharts, but also of Hartke.

You have to be careful with freedom. Not all of your choices may be beneficial or constructive.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I also pray that you keep it safe and think of others.

Please don’t drink and drive and call 911 to report possibly impaired drivers. Keep it safe. I hope to see you all again on campus after the holidays.