Nik Wallenda the Grand Canyon Walk & the Sixth Commandment


Aerialist Nik Wallenda crossed the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon on Sunday. The stunt took him about 1,500 feet above the river. It took him 22 minutes to cross the quarter-mile gorge.

I remember watching Nik’s famous great grandfather, Karl Wallenda, attempt a tightrope walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978. Sadly, his attempt was unsuccessful due to alleged bad rigging and he fell to his death on live television. I was 17. The moment was etched in my memory and was a constant reminder when I first heard of Nik’s attempt at the canyon crossing. I didn’t want to watch it.

I’m certainly glad that Nik made it across safely, but spectacular stunts such as this one always cause me to be reminded of the sixth commandment:

You shall not murder. – Exodus 20:13

“But Nik didn’t murder anyone!”

True, but we need to understand that this commandment imposes upon us our duty to preserve life; to place God’s desire for us to pursue holiness rather than man’s will to pursue sensual pleasure, or, in this case, risky behavior. Extreme sports which risk life and limb are wrong for one very simple reason: they discount the sanctity of life. It is unnecessary risk-taking.

Yes, I am glad, very glad, that Nik made it across safely. Yes, it is quite an accomplishment. But such actions are also a threat to life as well as a dishonoring of it. That alone should cause us to wonder why so many would attempt such.

Here’s Nik’s post-walk interview: