I love this man dearly. He is a person of deep integrity and grace who has put up with me for more years than I can imagine.
I do not love his driving.
I’m the more aggressive driver of the two of us. My average speed is nine miles over the limit–I’m not the fastest car on the road. Nor the slowest.
John, however, is more cautious, He won’t change lanes to pass someone going ten miles under the limit–he’ll stay behind that car while everyone else whizzes around him.
I don’t wait well. If a car is moving slower than the limit–especially in the left lane–I’ll do all I can to quickly get around him.
Our driving styles are a reflection of our stories. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, everything was “do it yesterday”, or “don’t waste time”. John was raised in small-town Illinois; if his mom asked him to do something for her, if he accomplished that task within the next 24 hours, she saw it as success.
I have the overwhelming urge to tell him how he can improve his driving. I’m constantly wanting to hurry him up. When he gets overpowered by my words, I’ve developed hand motions to indicate my wishes for his driving.
We each have opinions about what others do. And how they do it. We have a framework from which we reference life–our stories give us context for what we understand to be helpful and right. And if someone doesn’t agree with us, it’s easier to judge them and the way they do things than listen to why they do what they do.
It’s easy to become dismissive of those who aren’t like us. We want others to listen to what we have to say, but we’re not always willing to hear their thoughts.
Jesus was constantly with His disciples. It was typical in that day for rabbis to surround themselves with a group of men whom they’d teach for long periods of time. Jesus was with these men continually and knew them well.
He told His men that the time was soon coming when He’d have to go to Jerusalem, suffer horrible things at the hands of the religious leaders, and would then be killed. He promised them He’d rise on the third day.
“But Peter took Him aside and began to reprimand Him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to You!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to Me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Matthew 16:22-23
Peter didn’t like what he heard. He loved what he saw Jesus doing, and as far as he was concerned, none of those bad things would happen.
Peter had a limited mindset. He saw the circumstances from his own perspective. Jesus had a plan that would be offered to the whole of humanity–forgiveness and grace. He’d have to die so He could be resurrected for that to happen.
I might not agree with John’s driving but he has reasons for driving as he does. I don’t know his mind.
God has reasons for doing what He does. We don’t have the whole picture of life; He does. And He tells us not to judge but to love.
What would it be like to not be the critic but the encourager?
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