Refrain from anger and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. Psalm 37:8 (ESV)
I have put off writing this because frankly I did not want to tell on myself. However, I made a promise to be transparent in sharing my experiences. So here goes, my story of recent road rage.
I pulled up to the stop sign. I had just dropped my daughter off at an appointment and now I needed to rush back home and get to a zoom meeting. Unfortunately, a wreck had happened, and the right lane was blocked with police cars. I was going to have to cross to the furthest lane and merge. Fortunately, there was a gap in the slow line of cars, so I pulled out. Just as I was going to join the line, a yellow older car rushed into the lane. She had come up from the closed lane and cut me off. I laughed and said “Wow.” Shaking my head I craned my neck to see if maybe the next car would take pity on me.
That is when things took a distinct and bizarre turn. The driver of the yellow car, middle aged with large glasses and long brown hair began mocking me.
“Wow, oh wow! WOW! Wow…..” She accompanied it with unflattering expressions and then punctuated it with a middle finger. And then another.
I would love to tell you that I continued down the high road, but oh no I did not.
The screaming, gesturing and less than Christian verbalization ensued. An officer heard us and blowing his whistle, motioned us on. She pulled forward and I merged behind. I admit I am surprised at what she did next. Hitting her brakes and leaning out of the car she continued her verbal assault. I laid down on my horn and returned likewise. We are now in the outermost right lane with traffic whizzing by us on the right because we have reduced our speed to approximately 25 miles an hour just a roll really and the screaming has continued. Both of us are hanging out the windows screaming, gesturing, blowing our horns and close to frothing at the mouth. Then suddenly she whips her car into the turn lane and slams on the brakes. I may be blind with anger, but I am not stupid I kept driving. And while I drove, I was fussing as I headed home. It took a couple of red lights before I had calmed enough to focus my thoughts. It was then that I realized how ridiculous I had behaved. Why had I engaged in this behavior? I could have driven around her at any minute. Why had I stayed in the lane behind her?
Because she made me angry. Really angry at her insults toward me. Angry that though I was the one cut off; she was yelling at me. Angry that she was going to make me late. She really got my dander up!
Anger in of itself is not a sin. Anger is normal and natural. It is when we lose our temper and control. As disciples of Jesus, we have been called to love one another and live peaceably. We cannot do this if we are allowing ourselves to lose control and lash out. Maintaining control and our tempers make it easier to forgive and live in peace with one another. If we have the Holy Spirit within us, then our actions should show the fruit of his work within us. Specifically, in this case, peace, patience, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) None of which I displayed. Often, we may feel justified in losing our temper because we have been hurt or offended. However, we are instructed to forgive and not yield to anger or seek vengeance.
I know that it is difficult, especially now, to maintain our tempers and self-control but now more than ever, we need to be exhibiting Christ. We are a people set apart and how is anyone to see that or desire to accept Jesus if we are no different in our behavior and reactions than the next person. Let’s not repay evil with evil but find the love of Jesus within us to forgive and maintain self-control.
Typist for Jesus