Recently, my husband and I were leaving a parking lot when another driver caught our attention significantly.
The driver appeared to wave their left hand in a motion that seemed to show they wanted us to hurry past them.
But after we took that action and were waiting to make a left turn from the lane we had chosen, we noticed the same driver appeared in the adjacent lane, still waving their left hand in what we now realized was a display of panic.
As we waited for the traffic light to change to green, we could hear the other driver yelling in an agitated manner. In addition, they kept attempting to go into the intersection to turn left, in front of us, even though the light was red and cars were traveling through.
The driver never looked at us to ask for a courtesy for them to take their obviously intended action. Instead, they were anxiously self-focused.
Aside from the practical tactics of waiting after the light turned green to allow this frantic drive to go ahead of us and maintaining a safe distance from them, how can scripture guide us in responding to this scenario?
Initially, my husband and I misread the other driver’s behavior.
As we continued to observe the other driver’s behavior, my thoughts and heart traveled an interesting trajectory.
At first, a moment of panic at the danger this driver posed to themselves and everyone else.
But then something changed in me. Clearly, this person displayed a sense of being overwhelmed and panicked.
Judgment shifted past concern for the potential physical danger this situation presented to concern for the other driver holistically.
- What could be the source of their extreme level of panic?
- Was it just the prospect of driving or something else?
- Did they have a medical condition that made them easily flustered and anxiety-prone?
- Do they have any family or friends that can help them?
As these questions developed in my mind, I found myself not only praying for physical safety but also for the driver to have all their needs met by the Lord.
When faced with another’s weaknesses, no matter what those weaknesses may be, it is so easy to be quick to judge and even angry towards that person.
Studying scripture reveals to us another path that is modeled by our Lord. Consider this sampling of scripture references.
Describe the benefits we experience because the Lord is slow to anger.
How do we benefit others or difficult situations when we set aside anger and extend grace?
When have you experienced the gift of another human doing this for you when you were weak?
Another practice that studying scripture reveals is the importance of compassion towards others.
Consider the following passages about Jesus.
Describe the reasons given for Jesus’ compassion.
What actions did Jesus take because of his compassion?
How have you practiced extending compassion to others in your life?
Is there someone you need to thank for extending compassion to you at a time you were weak?
Although it is unlikely I may ever know any further details about the anxious driver we encountered the other night, I am filled with compassion and grace towards them today.
I attribute this to spending time studying scripture, not to learn facts and tidbits, but to be transformed to live a compassionate and obedient life before my Lord and fellow humans.
As stated above, I can still be quick to anger rather than quick to extend grace and compassion.
I am not fully refined but am still in the earthen kiln of training.
What examples came to your mind from your own life as you read through this post today?
Do you extend judgment or compassion first towards others? Why?
Is there someone you know who struggles with a weakness you can pray for today?
Who can you ask to pray for you and your weaknesses?
We all struggle. We all need compassion. Grace and compassion can be used to respond to another’s weakness instead of anger and judgment.
Take some time to memorize the following passage.
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