I like to think that I am a law abiding citizen. I follow the rules of the road when I drive. I stay off of my phone, other than the occasional phone call, and I follow the speed limit, unless I am in a hurry or on a long road trip. I don’t shop lift, I file and pay my taxes on time, and I do my best to put my children’s needs ahead of my own. So, you can imagine my disappointment this weekend when I was the one at fault for the fender bender I was in over the weekend.
I was driving home from the grocery store, my daughter in her carseat in the backseat of my car. I am stopped behind the vehicle in front of me, at a yield intersection. I saw the break lights go off of the car in front of me, and they pull into the intersection. I turn around to check my blind spot, and start to accelerate, however, the car in front of me had stopped. I bet you can guess what happened next. Yup, I ran into the back of their car. I sit there in disbelief for a moment, trying to quickly gather my thoughts. I grab my phone out of my purse and quickly dial 9-1-1. I knew that a police report was going to need to be filed. In the meantime, I turn around to check and make sure my daughter is okay in the backseat. She’s fine, just chatting away at me and trying to grab my attention to what I was trying to focus on.
And once I was off the phone with 9-1-1, I grab my registration and insurance information to share with the gentlemen whose car I hit. As I step out of my vehicle and approach the gentlemen, the first words out of his mouth were, “You know, I had stopped because there was a car coming.” I stood there is shock. I apologized for hitting his vehicle, and explained to him that I had turn my head to check my blind spot after I had seen him accelerate, and didn’t realize he had stopped until I had hit him. He just stood there and stared at me, this nasty, dirty glare on his face. WOW! Did his reaction make me feel so small. I felt as though he had to remind me that I was in the wrong, and that I was a horrible person for running into the back of his vehicle.
While we were waiting for the police to arrive, I was trying to crack jokes with the gentlemen, to try and lighten the mood. I made a comment about how I made it 31 years into my life before causing an accident. The guy wasn’t having it. I finally turned around and went back to sit in my vehicle until the police showed up.
As I sat there in my vehicle, I began to think about situations in my life where people had wronged me. Sometimes I was hurt intentionally, but many times, the wounds that we inflict on one another are unintentional. And what is my reaction. usually it is one of anger, or bitterness, or I use the situation to remind the person of the wrong that they have done. And what happens when you are around someone who typically has this reaction? Typically, you don’t stick around very long, or you learn to walk on tip-toes around a person like this.
But what if, our reaction is not one of anger, or frustration, or bitterness?
Husband forget to do the dishes again? Daughter wasn’t honest about where she was going with friends the other night, and now she’s gotten herself into trouble? Son comes home with grades that are not at the standard that you would like? Your co-worker continues to say things that bother you, even though you have confronted them about it? Do you relate to this reaction of wanting to meet these situations with anger, frustration, bitterness, and judgement?
I think for me, the worst part about the situation I found myself in on Saturday evening, was that this gentlemen only seemed to care about how I had hit his vehicle, and didn’t seem to have any regard for how myself or my daughter was, and certainly treated me as though I was some horrible person for hitting his vehicle.
Even those of us who follow all the of the rules and have the best of intentions, will at some point, break the rules. And even those around us who are good people and follow the rules and have the best of intentions, will at some point, do something that will cause us to get upset.
This past week in The Story, the sermon on Sunday really spoke to me. ALL of us will mess up. ALL of us will find ourselves in situations, where was have done something to cause hurt, or will find ourself on the other side of the fence and will be the one hurt. It’s because of our sinful nature. And we will all suffer consequences for those actions. BUT, God does not meet us with immediate punishment. God did not meet Israel with immediate punishment. God met them with grace, and patience. And that is what God meets us with, grace and patience.
And for me, that was comforting to hear. Yes, I was the reason that both myself and this gentlemen found ourselves in that situation on Saturday night. But for me, that was not the end of the story. God met me with grace, and forgave me for my action. And God will meet that other gentlemen too with grace and forgiveness.
So just remember the next time you are in situation where you are tempted to react. Will you meet the situation with grace and patience, or will you be quick to judge and draw conclusion and meet the person with anger, bitterness, and judgement? Will you take advantage of the opportunity to share God’s grace, with the one that you’ve harmed?
I am not sure about you, but I will try to deliver more grace.
P.S. Both my daughter and myself are fine, and so was the gentlemen driving the other vehicle. Thankful my car can be fixed, and thankful Ellie and I are safe, as we cannot be replaced.