It happened yet again. Driving home last night I noticed a car behind me, but I couldn’t see his headlights or even most of his hood. According to all of my mirrors, the driver was in my back seat. When this happens, I slow down. Not for the sole purpose of being rude, but for safety first. There were barely inches between us while driving 50 MPH. If I had even tapped, ever so gently tapped, the brakes for a pedestrian, deer, someone turning, an active crosswalk, or any of the countless issues that would require a break tap, this guy would have hit me.
Slowing down generally solves 2 issues. It makes the eminent wreck safer (if he hits me, it will be at a slower speed) and second, it usually causes them to realize they were tailgating and they will back off. Once they back off, I resume normal speed. Yesterday, I let off the break and cringed as I’ve never seen anyone THAT close to me without actually hitting me. His reaction… BEEP! Followed by flashing lights and hands thrown in the air. I continued to slow until I got around 20 MPH. Then he started swerving. Left and right, lights flashing, hands waving, horn blaring. For 2 miles he did this. Never once did he back off. He was so close, he didn’t hit me, but I would be surprised if an index card could have fit between our cars. I finally turned and he whipped around gesturing and flew off.
The last thing I saw was his Jesus fish on the trunk. Some of you are thinking, he probably borrowed (or in this case stole 😉 ) the car. Unfortunately, I’ve been in the passenger seat of other Christians who drive the same way. And this is yet another, of many, reminders to me how important it is that Christians understand that if we don’t look like Christ… we aren’t IN Christ.
Consider the following statements in lieu of such a silly thing (like driving styles) and then make sure to expound them across all areas of your life as often as possible:
- The Bible spends extremely small amounts of time on Jesus while he was in ‘church’. I call it the Bible camera. While Jesus did go to the temple to learn and even preach, the action was mostly outside of the religious walls. So the camera was mostly tuned in when Jesus was living among the real world. The story we see of a man who sets a Godly example to EVERYONE. strangers, dinner parties, while traveling, interrupting public conflict, even while sleeping in a boat. The examples we have of how to act like Christ (in order to be Christ-ians) are while He lived his normal life. This extends to us. Crowded airplanes, sporting events, kid’s baseball, restaurants, DRIVING, and how we handle politics (mmmhmmmm! zing to almost all of us on those last 2).
- Entitlement and Christianity are polar opposites. Come on. You know the verses. Turn the other cheek. Go the extra mile. And many other examples let us know that picking up the cross of Christ means dropping the expectation of equality and fairness. The cross wasn’t fair. Jesus didn’t deserve that. Most of life won’t be fair. We aren’t here to experience fairness. That shouldn’t be our fight. We are here to show the world that Jesus loves them. Somehow, some “Christians” have convinced themselves that they can show love and the finger at the same time. (notice the quotes?) The Bible could not be more clear. Love is the greatest command. Sacrifice is required to love. Elitism is the opposite of love.
- The right thing requires effort. How easy are your decisions? Its so easy for me to get mad at the jerk acting like a jerk from jerkville. Its much more difficult to try and understand where he is coming from. Why was he in such a hurry? Was his life filled with turmoil? The hard option is understanding and forgiveness. If we aren’t facing difficult decisions in our lives, perhaps we aren’t making very good choices? This rule isn’t meant to be 100% universal, but think about it. We have eleventy billion cliches explaining the road less traveled, the merit of all things lies in their difficulty, problems are opportunities in work clothes, etc. etc. etc. We aren’t even talking Christian logic here. This is worldly universal. Ask any athlete. Ask any philosopher. Talk to any doctor, lawyer, or architect. Life, in and of itself, isn’t easy. Living a good, honest life is doubly difficult.
Prayers and peace to each of you. May we all learn to lose more and more of ourselves while we take on the lifestyle of Jesus Christ. The more we look like Him, the more His message will reach those who need to hear the story of love, forgiveness, and redemption.