Morning traffic. Trying to get to the school to drop off one of my kids and then trying to get to the office to cram in as much work as is possible before making the return trip to pick up.
It starts with a neighbor from down the street zooming up behind me and tailgating me all the way through our 25 mph streets and then transitions to a stoplight intersection where a guy pulls out of a McDonalds right in front of me and I have to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting him.
I’m in a hurry and so are they – all those bad drivers out there. In my mind, I’m frustrated and angry with them and occasionally a sentence will slip out.
“No. Way. Did you just pull out. In front of me. Like that!”
And from the back seat comes an eight year old voice saying, “Did they do something they shouldn’t have done?”
And in that moment I realize my demeanor and my word choices are saying many things to the innocent questioner in the back seat.
I realize that I am subtly saying to him:
· “It’s me against them.”
· “Other people are a problem.”
· “Their bad choices inconvenience me.”
· “The most important thing is my convenience, my goals, etc.”
I’m not saying a person can’t have an opinion about the quality of other people’s driving skills, but I realize that, for me, my reaction to other people and situations that I find myself in, shows me the direction of my heart.
The inclinations that I have in day-to-day situations show me how quickly I can drift from being a person who sees all people through the eyes of God and toward being a person who sees people from a very different point of view.
If I want to be a person whose life is aimed at helping others be reconciled to God, I’ve got to think through traffic and bad drivers, and all other people who I can easily categorize and write off as “people don’t count when it comes to all this Jesus stuff” because the situation in which we meet puts me at odds with them.
And it’s not limited just to traffic and bad drivers.
Lord, help me realize that everything about my life can be an extension of the reconciling message of Jesus and not just the “church parts”. Help me see that it can be the opposite of that.
I give you my alone time. I give you my church time. I give you my work. I give you my shopping time. I give you my family time. I give you my neighbor-and-complete-stranger interaction times. I give you my driving time.
Let your Spirit speak a little louder to me when I’m tempted to think “this moment, this person doesn’t matter”.
Remind me that your heart is for them, just as it is for me. Lead me to act and speak accordingly.
Thank you for times when your Spirit surfaces what’s in my heart through the question of my own child and other people or events that unfold around me.
Thank you that you are still reconciling parts of us to you that we don’t realize are not yet in your control.
May we see more clearly the reconciling you are doing in us so it will motivate us to live so others can be reconciled too.