I was driving down I-24 the other day on my way home from Murfreesboro and I slowed down to let someone in a pick-up truck enter the lane in front of me. As they merged, they proceeded to show some obscene hand gestures to me. In fact, not only did the driver wave rudely at me but so did the passenger. I got flipped-off in duplicate! I got the double whammy!
I'm not really sure why those people got upset with me. I let them get in front of me. Maybe they didn't like the color of my car or the make and model. Maybe they were just ornery people, or they had been having a bad day or a bad life.
This may have been a form of road-rage, although it was a mild from compared to some situations that I've heard of.
There was a local physician and a state senator several years back who both had displayed road-rage when they shot a gun at what they thought was an offending vehicle and driver. Both the doctor and the senator found themselves in some hot water after those incidents.
Just about everybody who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle has times when other drivers may not like the way they are driving.
We may be driving too slowly, or we may be driving too close to the other vehicle in front of us, or we may be on our cell phone and not paying attention.
Sometimes we do get distracted and sometimes we are not being courteous drivers.
We all have to remember that when we enter the roadways we are sharing that space with other drivers and we need to remember to be thoughtful of others.
Not everybody who gets annoyed in traffic makes obscene gestures or pulls a gun, but we still need to be thoughtful of other drivers.
Being thoughtful of others doesn't just apply to life on the interstate highway or county roads. We need to be concerned about others in every area of our life.
If we live with other people in our homes we need to be kind and thoughtful of them as well. And every time we walk out of our house, chances are we will have occasion to come in contact with others. How we treat others in casual contact speaks volumes about our character.
I try to remember the words of Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:32 where he said, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
I have to try hard to be a good example. But I do try! I want to be kind and tenderhearted and forgiving.
When I was assaulted with rude gestures the other day, I had numerous thoughts running through my mind? Oh, the nerve of those people! Who do they think they are? What did I do wrong? How should I respond? What's the right thing for me to do? And then finally, I knew I needed to pray for them.
I didn't know them. They didn't know me. But, I could be upset with someone I didn't know, just like they obviously were, or I could try and be Christ-like.
So, I prayed for them. I forgave them. And I asked God to bless them and work in their lives.
Jesus instructs us in Matthew 5:44-45, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the sons of your Father in Heaven."
I'm going to try hard today to be a good example, to be the man that my Heavenly Father wants me to be. I am going to work at it with His help.
And I am going to try to be a better, more thoughtful driver. Watch for me on the roads. I won't be making rude hand gestures. I'll be the guy praying for you!
Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at email@example.com.