Responding to Another’s Weakness

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.

Ps 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Ps 103:8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Ps 145:8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Prov 14:29  Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Prov 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
Prov 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Prov 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

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.

Matt 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matt 14:14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matt 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
Mark 6:34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.

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.

15  As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16    for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17    But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18    to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19    The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all. [1]


Barbara Lynn


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 103:15–19.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *