Editor Patrick Donahue recently wrote addressing the status of some bills that have been put forth to vote on and pass into state law. One bill is called the “slow poke” bill. Mr. Donahue wrote, “Rep. Bill Hitchens’ ‘slowpoke bill,’ House Bill 459, which will cite drivers who drive under the speed limit in the left-hand lane in a road of more than two lanes, sped through the House finally, with a 162-9 vote Wednesday. The House Motor Vehicle Committee sent on to the full body for a vote Monday. So now it heads to the Senate, just in time for the 56 members there to weigh in on the legislation” (http://community.effinghamherald.net/blogs/detail/34502/).
Getting into the left lane (that’s the fast lane) of a multi-lane highway, only to be slowed down to a speed considerably less than what the vehicles are travelling in the right lane, can be irritating. I do not know if there is a significant higher rate of accidents caused by those situations, but I hope it creates safer travel. Upon reading this my first thought was, “finally, we might actually get somewhere!” “Slow poke” was not what I was thinking in the past.
You see, it was not long ago when my reaction to this happening to me, resulted in me getting downright angry. I would yell, I would use all sorts of colorful metaphors and even make certain hand gestures as I let the person driving slow in front of me know how much of a yay-hoo I thought he was. I would then maneuver and speed past them. Imagine to my surprise and chagrin, on one occasion when I arrived at my destination, less than a few minutes later that person I had just given a piece of mind showed up also. It was a funeral and they were family members. What was I thinking?!
Such is not my reaction anymore. As Christians we are commanded to “do good unto all men” (cf. Gal. 6:10). Further we are also told in the Holy Scriptures: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:19-20). And in Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
One incident of failing to have any self-control ended up being at least three sins, all committed in less than a minute. This certainly is not the work of the righteousness of God.
What we do and what we say matters. Out of the mouth the heart is revealed (cf. Mt. 15:18). I know perfectly nice and good people, who when put behind the wheel of a car, instantly transform into hideous monsters, some Christians included.
I personally know a preacher who arrived at the church building one Sunday morning and was cheerfully greeted by a young female member. It was she who had laid into her car horn driving erratically as she passed him, while waving hello with one finger of her left hand just before she cut closely into lane in front of him. “How was your ride to worship this morning?” he asked. “It was fine until ….” She realized at that moment as her cheeks began to flesh out a deep red, it was he whom she had all but accosted on the road just moments ago. With her head down she apologized for her shameful actions.
What if rather than the preacher it were someone else? What if it were a first-time visitor? What may have been the result then? Could it have caused one who is seeking God to think, “if that is what being a Christian is, I do not want anything to do with it.” We can be a stumbling block to those around us by our actions.
What does God think about those who cause others to stumble? “Offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2).
I still wonder sometimes “what is that guy/gal thinking” when I see poor driving. The fact of the matter is, there are very few minutes saved when rushing ahead and having a conniption fit, acting like a child, is no way befitting a child of God. Though an officer may not have seen what you did, trust me, God did. I always appreciate it when someone lets me into traffic or is kind enough to wave me through when trying to make a turn.
Luke 6:31 reminds us, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Would it not be nice if everyone had that attitude when it comes to driving? Would it not be even lovelier if everyone had that attitude in regard to everything else we do in this life?
When it comes to wrath and anger, go ahead and be a slow poke. It may not save you any time but it could save your soul.
Minister, Highway 30 Church of Christ