The other day as I was out and about, I saw a car come dangerously close to another car. The car that was cut off was brand new and very nice. The car that almost caused the mayhem was older, already bent in several places, and not so nice. I’m not sure the driver even noticed what happened. The driver of the nice car sure did however!
The reaction from the driver of the good car was very much the way I used to react when I drove nice cars. There was anger, consternation, and much waving of the arms and lips! Ooh, I remember those feelings.
“we put our stuff ahead of people”
It’s been awhile since I’ve driven really nice cars. I bought my 4Runner in 1994, and about 100,000 miles ago it began to lose its shine. But I do remember those feelings. I remember trying to explain some the finer points of driving to other people who were altogether clueless.
That’s when it hit me. I used to put the value of my car about the value of the
driver person who made a mistake. Why do we do that? Why do we put so much emphasis on our own stuff, with no care about what the other person may be going through?
If I’m driving a nice car and have enough energy to get mad at someone else, that is an indication that my life might not be so bad. If someone else is driving an old beater, and is so distracted by stuff that they didn’t even realize they almost hit me, that might be an indication that their life sucks. Even if it isn’t true in every case, it’s a good metaphor.
A friend of mine use to deal with these situations reversing what she wanted to say. Instead of swearing at the other person, she would whisper, “There goes an awesome child of God.“
And isn’t that the truth? No matter what is occurring – a driver cutting you off, someone stealing your laptop, or damaging your luggage when traveling – we seem to put our stuff ahead of the person. Why is that?
Same with doctrine in the church. We seem to elevate our doctrines over the needs of the people. Why is that?
Jesus healed a man who had been born blind, and the people we outraged that he’d done that on the Sabbath. But Jesus reminded them that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath? Wouldn’t that apply with every law and commandment? I think so.
What would it take for us to put others ahead of our possessions? What would it take for us to put others ahead of our wants?