I’ve always thought of driving through rush hour as a spiritual maturity test. The frustration packed into all the congestion, lane jumping, and rude gestures makes for a Christian minefield. But my work lies on the other side of that warzone. So, every morning I pray, take a deep breath, gulp some smoothie, and jump into the maddening fray.
But I have found something that helps—even more than muttering about someone cutting me off or blaring their horn or waving the universal sign of un-fellowship in the air. It helps to remember that driving that car is another person facing the same frustrations I do, a person God sees with much more love than I do. And perhaps it’s someone who’s where I used to be, in the muddled mess of an unredeemed life.
In an article cutting a swath through the social media sphere, Susan Basham hits upon this idea. When waiting in the drive through at Starbucks, another driver doesn’t take too kindly to a perceived slight:
Thinking I was trying to snag her spot of next up, she gunned her Suburban, rolled down the window, and let out a string of expletives that made me blush. Millie barked back a retort.
“Go ahead, please,” I said. “I wasn’t sure who was first.” I pulled Millie back onto my lap, so she could see I had been dog-distracted and truly didn’t know who was next.
She didn’t buy it. She continued with the name calling without taking a breath. I won’t write them down here, but the main mantra shared initials with the number one social networking site.
And it’s in moments like those that Christians face the test. Jesus told us we’re to love those who give us a verbal shakedown. Not only that, we’re told to do good to them. After all, Christ came to find sheep such as these who have wandered away.
Basham recognized herself in this frustrated driver—her former self. And instead of internalizing the anger or lashing back, she offered to pay for the woman’s order. The woman, however, refused, not because of anger, but because of remorse:
“No takers, huh?” I said to the barista as I pulled forward.
“Nope. She said she couldn’t believe you wanted to pay for her drink after all the names she called you. She said she couldn’t allow it, and said to tell you she was sorry. She felt really bad.”
“Did you tell her I hoped she had a better day?”
“Yep. She said thanks— that she already was.”
In a recent video on BibleStudyTools.com, pastor and author Judah Smith explained how God’s love can transform our own attitudes toward others:
What about you? How do you keep the right perspective in a world that seems unfriendly at times?