“In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you . . . ” Matthew 7:12
I don’t know what she was thinking about. Suddenly, the brake lights in front of me flashed and I had to hit my brakes hard. Then, the driver turned sharply to the right, crossed two lanes, and took the exit we had almost passed.
My hand rose to punch the steering wheel and honk my horn when two things simultaneously crossed my mind.
First, I saw her look of anxiety and knew that she was clearly upset, having, presumably, almost missed her exit. Second, I remembered that not long ago, I had made a “just in time” move when I had almost passed an exit.
Needless to say, I didn’t honk my horn.
I have begun to apply the verse from Mark at the start of this column, this teaching of Jesus which is often referred to as the “The Golden Rule,” to little things like driving courtesy.
In my own mind, I think that the big decisions are easier to make with Jesus’ words in mind. That’s true for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that usually, with the big decisions, we see them coming and have time to think.
On the other hand, I want my reflex decisions to reflect this teaching, as well. And I’m finding this much harder to do.
I rarely honk the horn of my car but when I do, there is an enormous satisfaction in giving another driver my point of view. But as I reflect on the teaching of Jesus, I find it easier to remember my own driving lapses and hard to exercise my opinion on someone else’s.
I have a pastor friend who said that all good theology is “incarnational.” What he meant is that our faith and understanding of God is best developed when applied to a particular person in a particular situation.
Kindness is something we all endorse until it needs to be exercised. Like what happened to me the other day when someone in line ahead of me at a store didn’t have enough money to pay for their items. They asked the cashier to deduct, one by one, enough items to make their limit . . . and it took forever!
So, the next time you’re tempted to give someone a piece of your mind . . . think of the Golden Rule and ask yourself if you’d like to hear it from someone else.