I had some extra time between counseling placements. Rare time. Shuffling between many different schools and offices means a ton of driving time, and less time to actually run the errands I need to get done to make these sessions (and home life) a success. Less than 1 mile to my intended destination. 1 mile. Should take about 10 min. To get to where I needed to be. To get that last errand complete before the mad dash to the next spot I needed to be. With some time to spare.
I wasn’t in a huge hurry. I wanted to relish this time I didn’t often get, and so I must have zoned out right before that light turned green. Or so the loud blare from the beeping behind me let me know.
And I must have certainly been in some kind of euphoric mood to completely misunderstand that the lady who backed into the space in the parking lot, wasn’t backing in-she was trying to turn around. In the middle of the parking lot. Her cursing and middle finger salute should have told me I was completely misunderstanding her intentions.
Everyone was in such a hurry, and was just truly so mean about it, that the encounter with the backed-in lady nearly brought me to tears.
How could this type of temper and anger be our norm in our daily interactions, even in traffic? But I recalled a time when I used to be the same way. Giving people that same salute, and yelling at them when they cut me off, didn’t use a turn signal or drove too slow. I am a reformed road-rager.
The power perceived when receiving that first set of keys is amazing. There is an independence and a freedom that comes from being able to freely get in and go where one wants. A power that often takes control of our choices, and even our interactions.
But there are rules.
There is also power in anger. Its strength can be amazing. It can move people to act. Break rules.
It can also be damaging. Damaging to your witness.
I drive a yellow vehicle. My personalized license plate announces my trust in Him. I have stickers on the back professing the power of the cross, and letting drivers know that it is Jesus before myself. But if I start to act sideways in that car, I could damage any view others have of Christ.
I can put all the pretty stickers I want on that automobile, but if I drive it with anger and hate in the drivers seat, those stickers are well….just decorations. Nice things to look at. Nothing more than a bumper sticker.
And I don’t want to be a “bumper sticker” Christian. I want to be truly like Him, at all times. Including when confronted in a dollar store parking lot.
So, how did I handle that finger-flicking rager. I simply waved. I rolled into my spot, and as she blew off in a tizzy, I prayed for her. For her safety; and that of the kids in the back seat. Prayed her kids didn’t witness this, and prayed that once she got to her destination, more than likely frazzled and angered; that she met Jesus there in someone else. That her encounter with me wasn’t the last one with Him.
This is how we become more than just mere “bumper stickers.”