I flipped someone off while on my way to church…and I had every right to do it. They were clearly in the wrong. Yet as a Christian, I gave up my right to be offended, which, sadly, includes responding with rude gestures. So now I’m the one who actually messed up.
Here’s what happened. I was driving down the main road out of the neighborhood, admiring the morning light as it glistened on the wild grass. It’s a long, curvy road down a pretty steep hill. Out of nowhere a black Audi SUV nearly slams into my bumper. Then THEY honk at ME. I was like, “awh heeeell nah!” I wanted them to know I heard their protest and I didn’t care. On impulse, I chose the first gesture I thought of that could efficiently broadcast this message: I stuck my hand in the air, middle finger fully raised.
We then sped down the rest of the road—neither one happy to be near the other. It was the fastest I’ve ever gone down that hill! But please understand, I didn’t drive recklessly out of courtesy, I just didn’t want that horrid four-ring logo stamped on my bumper. To further add salt to any wounds, for the first time ever, I made a complete stop at the stop sign at the bottom of the hill.
When we reached the stop light, the road finally split into two lanes and I moved to the right side, the slow side, and checked my phone. But I felt like someone was watching. I turned to my left and saw a car full of teenagers, all glaring with hate. I glared back and mouthed “Learn to drive.” The driver raised her eyebrows and we rolled down our windows.
“You were riding my butt the whole time,” I shouted across the lane. Today I’m thankful I used the word “butt” instead of something else.
“That’s cuz we’re in a hurry–” she stated matter-of-factly, but I cut her off.
“That’s no excuse to drive dangerously!” I sounded just like my mother. The light turned green and we drove our separate ways. Adrenaline coursed through my veins from overcoming the slight conflict. I had held my ground! For a brief moment, I felt victorious. But then I wondered…
What if they were rushing to see their dying parents in the hospital? Maybe they just won non-refundable tickets to the new Star Wars movie and it started in 8 minutes? Maybe they were just jerks? It doesn’t matter. Christians aren’t supposed to flip people off.
A better Christian wouldn’t laugh at crude jokes. A better Christian wouldn’t say “the S-word” when her computer crashes before she saved. A better Christian would be a better example for her friends. A better Christian would have pulled over. This is one of many humbling examples in my life. Every time I think I’m ready to graduate from spiritual milk to spiritual mush, I have to go back…
One good thing to come of this, I have a deeper understanding of the song, “this little light of mine.” I was given a light and I’m supposed to let it shine, not hide it under a basket. Yet, I was so grateful I didn’t have a fish sticker on my car that day. And that’s just sad.
What if they followed me to the church parking lot?
What if we went to the same church and saw each other?
As a Christian rookie, noob, newbie, baby, whatever you want to call my lack-of-experience level, I made a classic rookie mistake. But I can’t give up and give in to my natural-jerk-nature. So I’ll admit I messed up. I’ll remember what happened this time so the next time I encounter an enraged driver I won’t have to write about it…
With no small amount of irony, here’s the message on my flip-calendar for today:
“Let me live, dear Lord, so that I honor Jesus Christ in my daily behavior and words as I anticipate His return. Pour your Holy Spirit upon me that He might cause me to walk uprightly before Thee. The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11″