“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9
Driving in Southern California is something that can turn a great day, into “let’s hope I don’t get arrested” situation. I just want to get to where I need to be with my family without feeling like our lives are going to be lost, whether it is from a dangerous driver or a road rage filled driver. There was an instance when my father needed to get a pre-operative physical and I was the only one who could take him to the doctor. I had to drop my child off for someone to watch and pick up my father and take him to his doctor. It was at a time during the day where, everyone was going somewhere. I was trying to get around a car and a woman cut me off and caused us to miss a light. I remembered I didn’t have any stickers on my car that showed I represented Jesus, so I proceeded to give her the “one finger salute”. Actually I showed her I had the ability to give her two salutes. She just laughed. As we continued down the street and every opportunity I had to get around her, she purposely cut me off and would slow down to have me slam on my brakes. I felt like I was in a moment of hysteria. Then, my daughter began to cry in the back seat. She told me she was scared. I began to cry. I was embarrassed that I didn’t let it go the first time. I apologized to her, took a deep breath, and drove the speed limit to where we needed to go.
I tried to let things go more when I drive now and to use my horn instead of my finger when necessary. I talked to a person about the situation and how much it bothered me. He said, sometimes, you need to think about that person’s situation and pray for them. That has helped me. A few weeks after that conversation, I was reading a blog post from writer Ann Voskamp. She mentioned an encounter she had with a farmer in Israel. She was helping this farmer replant trees in his orchard because he had all of his trees cut down by his neighbor. I am sure any of us would be huffing puffing mad. I assume she asked what did he do to get justice. But he answered her, “I refuse to be enemies with anyone.” I felt conviction and surprisingly, peace in that statement. I felt it was the Lord telling me I need to apply this when dealing with conflict, especially something as trivial as driving. We all have bad days and fly off the handle because of our circumstances. I think most of us, want to drive calmly and safely or to accomplish other tasks throughout the day this way. It just isn’t worth the conflict or become someone’s enemy. I do not advise to become the world’s doormat. We need boundaries and to be assertive when things are bothersome. I have learned we are all going through tough times in life and people’s foul actions are to be forgiven, just as God would forgive us.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for helping me to recognize that we all struggle. Help me let go of the trivial and not begin a conflict that is not worth starting. I pray for protection over my emotions and feelings. I thank you for loving me despite my anger and rage. I thank you for forgiving me, when I do act out. Help me to have your thoughts for others. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”