“To you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, bless those who curse you.” Luke 6:27
I was heading home through my city’s small downtown when the driver in front of me signaled a desire to parallel park. I put on my brakes, allowing plenty of room for that driver to maneuver. All of a sudden, my ears were assaulted by the horn of the car behind me.
I thought to myself: What have I done wrong? Granted, I may have hesitated a few seconds after the car ahead of me was successfully parked, but it was not so long that I deserved such horn-blowing. Once traffic was moving, the honker pulled up right beside me, stared at me with a very unfavorable expression, and gave me a thumbs down (could have been worse!).
I was stunned! Didn’t that driver know that I was a nice, law-abiding Christian?!
I had to halt that train of thought. This incident was not about me. She, too, may have been a nice, law-abiding Christian. And maybe her dog had died or her boyfriend had dumped her. Whatever the case, she must have been having a bad day.
We never know what others are going through. Displays of anger or vengeance are usually tied to something more deep-seated. There’s likely some kind of pain, hurt, or inner conflict lurking beneath the surface.
I had to remind myself that everyone I encounter is struggling with something. As the angry driver accelerated past me, I found myself praying. According to Matthew 5:44, pray for your persecutors. That’s not easy, but praying softens the heart, and allows compassion and empathy to enter.
Hard to show compassion (or extend a Sweet Monday invitation) through a car window at a busy intersection, but I could have and should have responded to her with a big smile and a thumbs-up!