Friday, May 14, 2010

Man, Do They Have A Problem

Think for just a minute about somebody who has some major problems. I’m talking about some major character issues and flaws. People with bad tempers, selfish attitudes, rude behavior, dishonest, etc. Pretty simple task isn’t it? The truth is most of us can think of a huge list of people. The trouble is that in the process of making that list, how many of us put ourselves at the top of it? I’m sure there are those who don’t even include themselves anywhere on that list. Lets face it though, we are all messed up. We are all works in progress. We all have much room still left to grow. It’s just so much easier to see the problems in another person’s life. We often do well at fulfilling the roll of judge and jury when it concerns others while overlooking the faults in our own lives.

I was listening to the radio today when they read an email from a lady who encountered an irritated driver who apparently wasn’t happy with the fact that she was traveling slower than he was but was in the fast lane. He reacted in a way that was inappropriate and made it apparent to her that he was quite angry. Her response? She prayed for him. She didn’t retaliate with anger or malice. She just simply prayed for him.

Although, her response to him was a really good one, I couldn’t help but think that she might be missing something. I’m sure the angry driver didn’t take time out to ask himself, “Why am I so upset,” or “What’s the driving force behind me losing my temper?” While he needs to find the answers to that before his road rage injures him or someone else, I also believe the lady could benefit by asking herself a couple questions. Rather than just pray for the man, the lady needs to ask herself, “Why is this man so upset,” and “Is there something I’m doing that is facilitating his behavior?” No, I’m not excusing his temper tantrum, I’m just adding a perspective I think we often don’t want to examine. It’s true that he’s responsible for his behavior, but its also true that she’s responsible for hers. We are really good at judging the actions of others with a magnifying glass while excusing our own.

While this man could probably benefit from some anger management courses, I’m just wondering if its possible for this lady to benefit from a deeper look at the encounter. I’m thinking that had she been driving in the right hand lane, it would probably be a non-issue. A quick glance in the rear-view mirror to see an approaching car should have prompted her to move over if she was in a position to do so. Perhaps, there was traffic in the right lane and that wasn’t possible, but if the lane was clear its just a respectful gesture to give way to faster moving traffic. Again, I’m not saying its her fault that he flew off the handle. I’m just saying perhaps being more aware of those around her and respecting them, could have prevented this event from ever being played out.

I know that there are people with major issues and regardless of what we do, they’ll still leak those internal issues all over the place. All I’m saying is that, I think it’s extremely healthy for us to examine ourselves and why we do what we do and how those actions affect those around us. Personally, I feel as though while I’m driving I have a responsibility to those driving around me. I’m just constantly aware that there are more people on this planet than just me. When I’m sitting at a red light, I feel a responsibility to the people behind me to watch the light and go once it turns green. In the same way when driving on the freeway I try really hard to make sure if there are cars behind me wanting to drive faster that I move over and allow them to pass. That being said, I’m not always paying attention and while I don’t take kindly to the unseemly behavior of some drivers, I have to admit that I may have added to the problem. Again, I’m not saying that others don’t have problems. I’m just saying that I’m in the same boat and that I need to worry about fixing the holes in my boat and stop trying to figure out who has the most water in their boat.

The truth is, so many times we become totally oblivious to those around us. We are focussed on ourselves, our agenda, and our world. Then, when someone around us acts in a way that is selfish and immature, we step back and think, “Man, do they have a major problem or what?” And while praying for them is great, I just think there is a bigger picture here that includes us. Jesus said it something like this; We walk around with this honkin’ big 2×4 sticking out of our eye and all we are focussed on is some tiny little speck in somebody else’s. Ok, so maybe this temper-tantrum throwing, irate, needs to get off the road driver had something more like a railroad tie sticking out of his eye. The point still remains that if we only focus on his flaws and fail to examine ourselves with that same lens, we’ll miss a huge opportunity for growth. I know from experience that self-examination results in growth while judging others produces nothing positive.

Lets determine to put up that lens we examine others with and take out the high powered microscope to examine ourselves with. Then,….oh, wait a second….I’m having a little trouble seeing….I guess I’m gonna have to run….it appears I’ve got something in my eye.

1 comment:

  1. You've got a beam in your eye too? Wow. What a coincidence! So do I! Mine says, "Watch your mouth when you get irritated." (Actually, I should watch the irritation, period. Why do I allow myself to get irritated in the first place? That just irritates me that I get irritated. Argh.)
    Thanks for another excellent point of view!