Grandma, Get Out Of The Way!
You know that guy who zooms up behind you in the early morning dark, when it’s raining, and on unfamiliar roads? He doesn’t like it because you are going too slow. You wonder if he is late for work or there is an emergency. I use to be that guy, and there was never anything pressing but my own impatience. The world was always going to slow, and you would drive by and give the person that look. You know the one, guys, because you’ve given it too. It’s that look that says, “yeah, you’re a moron and shouldn’t be on the road.” Especially if the person is really old or a woman on the phone. This morning I am that moron, or rather that older person who doesn’t trust my own eyesight in the glaring lights reflecting off the prisms falling from the sky.
When it comes down to it, it is about respect for people. Maybe the woman on the phone is talking g to her babysitter or the older couple is trying to get home from seeing their great grandchildren. Or maybe not. It really doesn’t matter. As Followers of Jesus we are to love, and love is patient and kind. Patience is a virtue that I have never had an abundance of. I have always been a “need it now” kind of guy. Not a good characteristic for a Pastor. God has a remedy for impatience, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (patience).” James 1:2. You know the old saying, “practice patience?” Patience only can be practiced in the middle of a trial.
There are always opportunities to practice, the line at the store, the clerk who can’t help you, the child who won’t listen, the spouse...who won’t listen, or the person in the car in front of you going slow. But it’s not about being patient. If you think you can learn and maintain patience for patience sake, you will fail. Impatience is an emotion born of a feeling of injustice. The person or situation is creating a block to something you desire. Impatience is the gateway emotion for anger. The way we deal with impatience is to understand what is the desired block, is the object or person in the way able to resolve the issue, and will anger really solve the problem (or will it make it worse)? Anger never makes it better.
Love is the only emotion strong enough to overcome the emotion of anger, but not our love. We know how to love because God has first loved us. He has every right to be impatient with us, to be angry for our sin. Yet, he doesnt act on his right, but displays his love toward us, so that, we can have an enduring relationship with him. It is his love for us that motivates us to love others.
You know when your getting impatient. You want something but it’s not happening. The muscles in your shoulders begin to tense. You might pace, grip the steering wheel, grit your teeth. Stop! Who is the person in front of you? Are they loved by the Father? Then we are called to love them. Is our desire so great that treating someone with disrespect is the only outcome? “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” James 2:13.
I’m sitting at Midas waiting for the news about my breaks. I can feel the muscles in my neck tighten. I think I have some practicing to do...I’m just saying.