Friday, July 27, 2012

Driving unconsciously

Started about two weeks back…
I like to think of myself as a courteous driver; when freeway traffic is stopped and someone wants to merge on, I usually let them in. Sometimes, though, if we've been taking turns (one car from the freeway, one from the onramp, one from the freeway, etc.) and suddenly two cars try to merge in front of me, I don't feel like letting the second one in.

Similarly, when getting onto the freeway, I take my turn, though sometimes, if someone already on the freeway doesn't want to let me take my turn, I feel peeved and try to push my way in.

At this point I have to step back and ask myself, what's the big deal if I let one more car in ahead of me, or if I get onto the freeway one car later? What if the person who won't let me in is from out of town, and they're following a friend (who's just about out of sight)? What if the person nosing in front of me has just received word that a loved one is in the emergency room? Couldn't I show them a little grace? Like Jesus said, shouldn't I treat them as I want to be treated? That could be me next time! And sometimes, I actually do.

But not always. Yesterday I was in a traffic-jam situation, bumper-to-bumper, and a luxury convertible passed me on the right and tried to merge in. I wasn't inclined to give him a break, though I wasn't thinking much about it. I just knew I felt my space was being invaded (what did I mean, "my space," anyway? I don't own the road).

He jammed his way in, and having won that argument, flipped me off. I felt like lobbing a paintball at him.

But then I thought, what exactly did happen there, anyway? Did he in fact pass me on the right and cut me off? Did I deserve his wrath?

I had to think about it; I suppose I've done many unkind things on the road—consciously or unconsciously—and so I had to say to the Lord, "Help me not to be deserving of wrath." And as I write this, a passage from 1 Peter 2 comes to mind:

[W]hat credit is there, if when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps.
1 Peter 2:20-21, NASB (approximately)

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