A*&#%*! The naughty name calling just popped out of my mouth before I could stop it. The red Cadillac SUV from New York just wedged his car in front of mine cutting off an entire lane of traffic. What a jerk! Boom. Wasn't I a brave one? Standing up for my space on the road from the confines of my Civic. To top it off, I rode his bumper for a little while down the road, just so he knew I wasn't happy. "Mom, you know you weren't paying attention when the light changed and it left a gap..." In my moment of road rage, I forgot my son was in the car. Oops. Definitely not a stellar, honorable, above reproach moment for me.
In Romans 12:17-21, Paul instructs us to not repay evil for evil, but to "give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all." So often our emotions, our hurt feelings, our sense of being wronged- react first. We curse. We stomp our feet. We ignore people.We speak unkindly about others. We slam cabinets. We gossip. We plot. We work to get back at those who have harmed us. All these negative reactions flow freely and easily in response to someone bumping into our happy. Left to fester, these feelings of being wronged begin to consume us. We become saturated with the desire to "get even" or to "set the record straight." God says stop. Stop trying to get back at everyone. Stop trying to prove that you're right. Quit seeking revenge. Leave the pay backs to Him. Instead, consciously make a different choice. A choice to be kind, compassionate, generous, and humble. Ouch.
Romans 12 is filled with Paul telling us to be different. To think differently. To act differently. To respond differently. We are to do the opposite of what comes naturally. Got an enemy? Take her to lunch or out for coffee. Someone rocks your boat, don't splash them. Someone waging war with you, stay calm and work to make peace. For me, that means I need to stop trying to find others who feel the same way I do and "talk about" the enemy. I need to stop trying to persuade others that I am right and someone else is wrong. I also need to filter the words that come out of my mouth. I need to "give thought to do what is honorable" because I never know who is taking their cues from me about what it means to follow Jesus, or even who may be riding in the car!
Transform me by renewing my mind with your words. Help me to stop and think before I react. Help me choose the better way to deal with people. Help me relinquish my need to avenge. Help me chose grace and mercy over being right.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.