Allow me to set the stage: 9:00 am. Car load full of groceries. Screaming 11 month old in the backseat. 30 minutes until our arrival at home.
As I came to my first red light on my way home, I began assessing the needs of the crying child in the back seat. Was she sleepy? Definitely. Did she need a diaper change? There was no time for that. Was she hungry? Yes! Finally something I could fix. I turned my head to reach in the diaper bag for the Cheerios, and just then, the man in the car behind me laid on his horn. Startled, I realized that I had missed the light’s change to green. I gave up my Cheerios search (baby still screaming), gave an apologetic wave, and went through the light. As I looked in the rear view mirror, I saw the man throw up his hands in disgust at me, as if I had stolen those past 10 seconds of his day on purpose.
As my reaction became less apologetic for my distraction and more annoyed at the man’s hostility, I realized that I too have that man’s attitude sometimes in my life. I (metaphorically) drive through life with my windows up, and all that matters is MY perspective from MY “life’s car”. It is easy to judge a person’s motives and actions without knowing the perspective from their “car”.
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” (Romans 15:1-2)
Maybe the person who seemed irritated after worship services is preoccupied with a family crisis. Maybe the person who declined an invitation to lunch is wondering how he will pay the bills next week. Maybe the brother or sister in Christ who fell asleep during services was sitting up the night before with a sick child.
When someone would speed past our family vehicle driving recklessly, my mom used to say, “Oh, his wife is having a baby.” Even though it turned into a family joke, the concept is spot on. Think the best of others. See what you can do to help. Be patient. The man in the car behind me probably had a bad day before the red light incident. I don’t know what circumstances led him to be so irritated. But I prayed for his day to get better because I did not know what was happening from his perspective in his car.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)
-Submitted by Kaitlin Lankford