Simple errands can sometimes be aggravating if we let them. Maybe you’ve had an experience like this: while driving through my community recently, I ended up behind a minivan that was driving well below the speed limit (or at least well below how fast I wanted to go) and seemed unsure of where they were going. I ended up closer to their rear bumper than I should have been and thought that when I got home, I’d complain about drivers in the neighborhood to whoever would listen. When the van finally turned right, apparently figuring out where they were going, I also remember thinking that the family in the van might end up talking about the annoying car that tailed them, having no concern that maybe they didn’t live there and had to drive slowly while they figured it out. This is a lot of aggravation for what should be a non-event, but at the time…
Somehow at that moment, Romans 12:18 popped into my head, which says: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” My first response was something like “God, what’s that got to do with this?” But as I regained speed toward whatever errand I was in such a hurry to finish, I thought “God, which part of this problem depends on me?” Hmm. The tailgating was definitely unnecessary, and gosh, I might have really wanted to let the van know to get out of the way, but politely, without resorting to honking the horn. Also, the idea of complaining about bad drivers when I got home depended on me…but what if the other family got frustrated about being tailed? Is that my fault? Well, if I had slowed down and been patient, that wouldn’t be a problem either.
When I got home, I didn’t share the story of the cautiously-driving minivan with anyone. I hope the people in the van didn’t vent on Facebook about the rude tailgater. Since then, I’ve been slightly better at being patient with slow drivers, because more depends on me than I often want to think. Sometimes I’m too focused on what others are doing wrong.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”