I was out this morning on a couple of errands. I had a plan – make a big contorted loop from one stop to the next, pick up clothes here, get groceries there, drop groceries off there, and back home again. The sun was shining, my shades were on, my “awesome tunes” playlist loudly playing, and I was feeling pretty great. I made my first two stops without incident.
And then, suddenly and without warning, the big hairy road rage monster joined me in the van. With all his fiery fury, he turned me into something I’m not proud of. Made me do and think things VERY unbecoming of a lady… and especially, unbecoming of a child of God.
In my defense, the dude at the receiving end of my big hairy rage monster had his own angry green road rage passenger, spewing angry words (which, of course, I could not hear, and that’s probably a good thing) and gesticulating in very impolite ways. Shaking his head and waving his hands and yelling at the top of his lungs. And the horn. Oh the horn!!! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!! Which, of course, in car-ese, means “WHAT THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?????”
I beeped back.
And I yelled too.
And I waved at him in the rearview mirror. JUST WAVED. (I was wearing mittens… even if I had returned the rude gestures he wouldn’t have been able to see it. WHICH I DIDN’T!!!! Just to be clear) 🙂 But I waved to be snarky, to show him that his actions had no effect on me. Which they did. But I wanted to make him think that I was completely unaffected and he could just go on his way yelling and screaming and making a complete fool out of himself.
But I was affected. Oh man, was I affected.
After the initial “HEY!!! I’M RIGHT AND YOU’RE WRONG AND DON’T YOU SAY MEAN THINGS TO ME!!!!” wore off, I got thinking. And then the little voice in my heart. “Sooooo… do you think that was the right way to respond?” and then the gentle reminder of a verse that I committed to memory a loooooong time ago: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov. 15:1).
I’m glad the kids weren’t in the car.
I’m better than this. Or, rather, I need to strive to be better than this. Yes, I’m human. Yes, humans tend to have short fuses. And yes, I expect the rest of humanity to act in a more grownup and respectable manner. But that doesn’t release me from the responsibility of rising above. As a child of God, I am to strive to be more like Him. I was made in His image, and the world needs to see me acting more like Him. How else will they understand His mercy and grace and goodness? How else will they know that He is good and patient and kind?
I got home and immediately went to my Bible (app). Searched the phrase “Slow to anger”. Here’s what I found:
Psalm 86:15 – But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Psalm 103:8 – The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Psalm 145:8 – The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
I was not gracious. I was not compassionate. I was not slow to anger. I was not rich in love. I was a poor example of how a child of the King should be acting. And man, was I glad my kids were not in the car. Because I want them to grow to be good examples of how a child of God should act. And if I’m giving in to my short fuse, yelling and screaming and honking my horn and acting like a little child, regardless of the circumstances or whose fault it is, then I’m showing them how NOT to act.
I’m human. I will fail. But I HAVE to try harder to rise above. To be better than this. To show love and grace and compassion, just like my Daddy. Because more than anything, I want to be like Him. My kids need me to be more like Him. The world needs me to be more like Him.