When I returned to Oregon this semester after a summer in Southern California, I found myself being impatient with the driver in front of me a lot quicker than I used to. Even if they were just going exactly the speed limit. I realized how crazy I can be when I drive.
I’m not saying I tailgate, flip people off, curse people out, purposefully cut people off or not let someone change lanes- nothing of the sort. I have found, however, that I get way angrier and impatient than I should when I’m driving.
When I drive, I seem to not care about being a representative of Christ anymore. I found myself thinking it was okay to think of creative non-direct curse words to use at the other drivers, and it was okay to judge them for their actions even though I was acting similarly to many of them.
After realizing this about myself, I’ve started to ask myself this question: “How would Jesus drive?”
Would He drive a Lamborghini? Would He drive a ‘69 Convertible? Would His divinity allow Him to fly over everybody? Would He take the bus, or would He walk?
How would Jesus handle the other drivers?
Once when I was driving on a two-lane highway, some guy in a white truck was tailgating me. He then went into the other lane and cut me off so badly, I wasn’t sure if he had chipped the front of my car. A few miles later, when I was at his side at a stoplight, I saw him. I saw his blond spiked-up hair, the tattoo covering his entire neck, his left hand at the 12 o’ clock position of the steering wheel, the sunglasses he was wearing, and the figure of the female passenger’s head. I turned and looked at him, but he didn’t do the same.
“He doesn’t want me to look into his eyes,” I thought.
I wanted to tailgate him, to do to him what he had done to me, but I couldn’t do it- not just because his impressively reckless driving and speeding was difficult to follow, but because I knew that if I stooped down to his level I’d put both of us and the other drivers into more danger.
I wondered how Jesus would have dealt with the guy with the neck tattoo.
There was another time over the summer when I had to yield at a left turn signal. Despite the clear oncoming traffic, the man in the white van behind me honked impatiently. Did he not understand the concept of yielding? As I insulted him in my mind, I thought about the idea of making a sign that read “Calm down, you’re not in labor,” and sticking it out the window facing him. But then I thought, “Would Jesus do that?” And the sign idea went away.
Another time, at the intersection of the 5 and the 101 I felt myself getting frustrated with the traffic and the people in the lanes next to me who wouldn’t let me in. I tried to remember Jesus.
Just like I expect grace for accidentally cutting someone off when I don’t see them, I think we should also give grace to other drivers whether they’re acting maliciously or simply made a mistake. After all, how would Jesus drive?