You’ve been there before. You’re driving down the street and see a construction sign warning that your lane is about to end. You dutifully merge to the left, giving yourself plenty of time before the orange cones force you over. You notice the car that had been behind you in the right lane doesn’t merge. Instead it suddenly accelerates, speeding past you and several cars ahead of you in a blatant attempt to “skip the line.”
As it nears the cones, the offending car slows slightly and tries to find an opening to its left. You smirk a little bit as you witness the cars ahead of you refusing to let the cheater in. As you draw closer, you too have no intention of letting this driver get away with his little ploy.
Just as you get even with the car, its engine revs and it shoots forward and swerves in front of you. You slam on your brakes to avoid hitting it.
Believe it or not, I’ve never really struggled with road rage.
Oh, I’ll definitely get annoyed and frustrated with other drivers, but I’m not one to yell obscenities, flip the bird, or react with “vehicular aggression.”
At the most I’ll mutter a snide remark, shake my head, and scowl at the offending driver.
That said, yesterday I probably came closer to exhibiting road rage than I ever have before. Ohhh I was mad.
The incident wasn’t particularly extraordinary or unique, and no damage was done. But for whatever reason, it rubbed me the wrong way, and I have never come so close to full-blown road rage!
Even after I reached my destination a few minutes later, I was still fuming.
No, I did not curse or scream or gesture angrily with my middle finger. But boy did I want to. And with shame I admit that about two seconds after slamming on my brakes, I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t have braked, I should have just hit him and enjoyed the insurance payout.”
I was that peeved.
And then the Holy Spirit started to work on my heart.
Sure, I didn’t actually react outwardly other than an angry scowl and shake of my head. And I didn’t scream bloody-murder. But I was thinking it.
I quickly and easily justified the angry thoughts in my head, trying to ignore the nagging thought that I could have been gracious and just let the car merge with ease. “But that jerk of a driver didn’t deserve grace!” I protested silently, pushing back against the uncomfortable twinge of my conscience.
“Tell me, little one, who does deserve grace? Is there anyone deserving of MY grace?”
Though no sound was heard, the question rang loudly in my ears. I didn’t like it.
“It’s not fair though!” I insisted.
“My grace isn’t fair.”
Dang it. He had a point. His grace is not fair. No one deserves it, and yet he offers it freely. My-silent-road-rage-self certainly wasn’t deserving of God’s grace – not at that moment of weakness and not ever – yet I am covered by his boundless grace.
Reluctantly, I acknowledged the Spirit’s whispering in my heart and repented of my arrogance and self-serving anger.
And then I took a moment to thank God for his grace that is so beautifully unfair.