But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) ~ Ephesians 2:4-5
I was just trying to make a quick trip to Hobby Lobby. It’s only a few miles from my house. I didn’t mean to block the ambulance, or pull out in front of that lady in the parking lot. I had moved out of the way for one ambulance traveling the same direction as I was. I didn’t see the one coming from the opposite direction until I was…well…sort of in the way. I hurried to the other lane and said “I’m sorry” to myself, because the driver could not see me. I then proceeded on my way, feeling like everyone was looking at me, snickering and pointing, saying, “That’s the lady who can’t even get out of the way for an blaring ambulance!” I’ve been in an ambulance before with my little boy, and believe me, I respect them. It didn’t look like it today. I was so embarrassed. Then, the lady in the parking lot came completely out of the blue. I tried to brake, but it was too late, I was out there, committed – I couldn’t stop. I waved and mouthed “I’m sorry!”. She waved politely and seemed nonplussed. I wanted to sink into my seat and disappear. But I had to keep going.
As I drove home, I thought about my bad driving, which my husband would say is my normal, and realized that driving is like life. I messed up on the road today (even more than normal, Terry). I sometimes go slowly because I don’t know exactly where I am. This can lead to suddenly stopping, or having to turn around, or pausing on green lights while I mull over my surroundings. I’m sure people have pounded their steering wheels behind me and said things like “Come on, GRANNY! Move!” or “Don’t you know how to drive, dummy?” They think that because I have Oklahoma plates that I’m from here. They may think I’ve grown up here *gasp* and should know better. Or maybe think that because I’m a living, breathing member of the human race and well over age twenty-one, I should know how to drive. But they don’t know me. They get impatient. They honk their horns, roll their eyes and shout expletives. They judge me by my driving, which often isn’t what it should be.
So why am I writing this, sharing with my readers that I’m a terrible driver? Because I think that this applies to the Christian life. We judge people and their levels of Christianity by their appearance. “I saw her wearing that immodest outfit once! It was way too low!” (Or too tight, or too short or too whatever).”He has shaggy hair. He’s a rebel.” “I heard him cuss once!” “Oh, she listens to that?” – Or goes there, or says that or does that…the list is endless. Look, I’m guilty too. I catch myself thinking that because someone claims to be a Christian – they’ve got the license plate – that they should know everything. Actually, I get to thinking that they should be like ME. I forget that the goal is to be like CHRIST. Maybe they just messed up? Maybe they are new to the Christian life? Maybe they have a heart of sincere love and worship for God, but since we can’t see the heart, we don’t know that about them. Maybe they deserve a little mercy from us, and patience. And instead of criticism, maybe some prayer?
I know my bad driving days are far from over. I just pray God will protect me – and those around me! – and that others will be a little patient; a little understanding of the new girl in town who sometimes goes a little fast on left hand turns. I am trying to do better, just like most Christians.