Most days I pass through a 4 way stop near my house. I’m on my way to drop off a kid or pick up a kid or go to work or the store or…anywhere.
It gets busy around rush hours and becomes more of a 4 way pause instead of a 4 way stop. People honk sometimes. I could be included in the word “people”.
I usually tap the horn when someone has not appropriately observed the law. They should know, right? I’m preventing an accident. They are in a hurry, they should slow down and pay attention.
Well, a couple days ago I pulled up behind a car at the 4 way pause. A million things were floating through my mind that first full week of school and crunch time in ministry.
As I pulled through the stop, I noticed a car start to pull out even though I was in the intersection. How dare he! I thought.
I didn’t tap the horn but I gave a look. You know, the get-in-your-place look. I may not be a police officer but I wish I was at times like these.
The driver did that Texas thing where you keep your hand on the steering wheel but wave your fingers around in a way that says what’s up with you lady?
As I completed my turn I realized I was still pretty close to the car that had been in front of me.
Why was I so close to them?
It slowly dawned on me that I had tailgated the driver in front of me through the stop! A cascade of thoughts poured out of me…
I was wrong
I deserved a ticket
I did what I hated other people doing
My behavior warranted a honk and a dirty look
I am a hypocrite!
And I was totally unaware of it.
I also wondered how many times I condemn others for something and fail to see clearly my own behavior that’s worthy of condemnation. I can name a number of times that I encountered this in my life. This incident reminds me that there must be so many more that I still do not see.
I will always need grace and mercy for ways I mess up that I have not figured out.
So will you. So will others.
That other driver I thought so arrogant now seems so merciful. He didn’t blast his horn at me and I deserved it! How many times have I taken the opportunity to come down on something I felt justified in condemning instead of letting it roll on past? Instead of showing mercy…
I really want to thank him for showing mercy! So, if you’re reading this and were driving a nice grey suburban when a lady in a grey minivan gave you a dirty look while breaking the law…thank you for showing mercy.
To me, pride seems like one of those really stubborn, kind of hopeless character flaws. I’m usually very blind to it so how can I possibly grow in humility?
And then humility! The minute you say you’re growing in humility it reveals you’re not! Catch-22.
Here’s my hope straight from Proverbs 29:
A person’s pride will humble him,
But a humble spirit will gain honor.
So, through my pride, I’ll get humbled. Fun! But, I don’t need to dread this beat down. Even more encouraging is that my pride is not a hopeless condition. The joyful paradox, though, is that by the time any honor comes I won’t even care about it anymore!
Humility is content without the honor it engenders. It has its own internal reward.
And I’d love to know what that’s all about!