I have a saying I tell myself and others as the occasion warrants; “Driving a car is like looking at yourself in the mirror”.
Mirrors have a long history, ancients thought mirrors were portals to the supernatural so their use in divination became widespread around the globe. They were used throughout the ages by the wealthy to help them enhance their beauty. Today mirrors are a practical item in every home. They help us prepare ourselves to greet the world outside. Mirrors are many times placed on the inside of entrances not just for decoration but as reminders of how we appear to others. Most of us make use of mirrors in private. Men shave, women apply makeup all in the privacy of our own space. Most of us drive our cars alone, as it were, in private and it is in private that we usually see ourselves as we truly are.
This is what I mean when I say that, “Driving a car is like looking at yourself in the mirror”. Whenever I go driving I can’t believe how many idiots and jerks are on the road! It seems to me that wherever I go the road is full of jerks in front of me and idiots behind me. Why can’t they just drive the way they’re supposed to? Or in other words, why can’t they drive just like me? After all isn’t my level of driving the best? Do you see now why I say that driving a car is like looking in a mirror? Let me add this, all the licensed drivers on the road have just as much right to be there as I do.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
When we look in a mirror it is usually for the purpose of making a correction, brushing our hair or straightening a tie. As I said, men shave and women apply make up. James is telling us that just hearing the word and not doing the word is like looking in the mirror, forgetting what you saw without making corrections. Applying this to my story about driving, when I see the driving of all those jerks and idiots I would have to say that I am passing judgment on their driving skills. Right? I am using my standard of driving to evaluate everyone else on the road. My reaction to others on the road is a reflection (like a mirror) of what is in my heart. As a Christian I am uncomfortable with that. First, I hate being angry at strangers on the highway. Second, Where does this rage come from? Third, What can I do about it? I would like to make corrections.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Ouch! Is James really telling me that my driving behavior (judging everyone else on the road) is like being an enemy of God! My desires are at war within me. I want everyone on the road to drive according to my standard or at least according to my interpretation of the driving laws. I have set myself up as the standard and justify it by my condemnation of everyone else on the road. Ouch! I am upset with other people’s driving but I hardly notice the condemnation that is in my heart toward other people, people made in God’s image, people just like me.
Matt 7: 3-5
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
My condemnation of others and my unnoticed hypocrisy are the products of misplaced passions. I am in love with my own driving skill and my own judgment of others. James says that is enmity with God. I am opposing God when I should be embracing Him. Ouch!
So what can I do about it?
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
I love this verse from Hebrews. It asks me to make use of a part of my mind that in today’s world we hardly notice anymore. It asks me to “consider”. I looked up the word consider in a thesaurus and here are some synonyms; contemplate, examine, study, meditate, ponder, ruminate. Scripture is asking me not to just think about this but to think hard and long. It asks me not only to consider but to “consider how”. I have found that when I ask questions of myself (like looking in a mirror) I usually ask questions like, “Why did you do that?”. My usual response to myself is, “Because you’re an idiot”. Not very helpful. I know that already, I’ve looked in the mirror remember? Hebrews asks us “how”, consider how. How can I change my experience on the road? How can I communicate to a stranger’s private space while driving down the road. Is there something I can do that will make a difference? How can I stir up others to love and good works?
Remember. (a word very similar to ‘consider’) Remember that everyone else on the road has just as much right to be there as you do. Remember that your anger won’t change the others drivers behavior. Remember you are in public. Driving in your car seems like you are in your private personal space but that is an illusion. You are actually on a public road that you must share it with others regardless of how they choose to drive. As a Christian this is an opportunity to display the love of God to those around you. What would that look like? Your travel time; give yourself extra time. You don’t want time constraints to bring frustration and anger into your drive. Give others preference. Let others go first. This is a basic Christian principle. 1 Corinthians 9:19 says, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them”. Servant of all, as you drive down the road remember you are a servant. Drive accordingly.
I would suggest that your drive can become for you a freedom and a blessing instead of a rat race. You have the power to look in this mirror and make the adjustments needed. This is where I hope you are “stirred up”. That you accept the challenge to drive with the love of Christ in your heart and demonstrate that by preferring others before yourself. Turn your commute into an act of worship instead of an act of hypocrisy.
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 John 4:20
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 Corinthians 9:19
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
Road rage in the news…
August 4 2017 Around 2 a.m., officials say Michael McCaskey, 64, of Kellyville, Okla., was driving westbound on the Turner Turnpike near Luther, when he swerved in front of a semi-truck.
An Oklahoma County jury chose to punish Samuel Max Powell, 45, with life in prison.
Police reported the shooting occurred about 7:45 p.m. Jan. 8, 2015, in south Oklahoma City.
“You messed with the wrong white guy, Mexican,” Assistant District Attorney Lori McConnell said, quoting a witness who testified during the trial.
May 26, 2017
Thirty-one-year-old Lawrence Finn of Pettigrew remained in jail Friday on a charge of second-degree murder. Arkansas State Police described the death Wednesday of 41-year-old Jason Miller of Alma as the result of a road-rage incident along Interstate 40 near the Oklahoma line.
OKLAHOMA CITY - The defendant in the road rage murder trial David Bloebaum has been found guilty of the first-degree murder and the jury has recommended he serve life in prison.
Bloebaum was accused of gunning down 29-year-old Jason Yousif after a road rage incident in the parking lot of a Super Target near Penn and Memorial back in September 2012.