It had been a long day. The streetlights were on, the stars were out and traffic was jammed. The last thing I wanted was to spend the next hour half awake behind the steering wheel as minutes morphed themselves into nail-biting outbursts of “I want to go home.” For the most part, traffic seemed to meander its way through as eager citizens longed to reach their resting places. Driving up the M1 “Segway” I came across a domino of vehicles. As I peered my eyes straight ahead, shoveling through the irking headlights, I saw a huge clunk of metal firmly planted ahead. A three ton lorry had conveniently lodged itself thus blocking the entire lane. Coming from both directions were edgy drivers frantically exercising their “patient” prowess as each fumingly fought their way to get home. I was fortunate enough to trail behind those that nudged their way through first (we were five cars at most). As I approached the “one lane”, with a myriad of vehicles piled on the other side of the truck, I quickly met eyes with the driver up ahead. His headlights were dimmed by the piercing look in his eyes. He pounded on his steering wheel spilling the rage that welled within him. It was clear that he was not willing to let anyone pass (lest he blew an aneurysm). The truck driver stood between our vehicles as he frantically tossed the coin in his mind quickly deciding which car gets the right of way. I waited. And I waited. His arms flapped erratically like an uncoordinated pegged blouse in June. I soon realized that he was not willing to budge. My eyes rolled within me as I quickly played the “bigger person.” I signaled from behind and backed up slowly as I made way for my impatient counterpart. His sheer resolve to stand his ground, allowing no one but himself to pass through, leveled my respects for the car owner to an all time low. As he passed beside me (going the opposite direction), so too did those behind him. One vehicle turned into three. Three turned into twelve. It was not long that the army of vehicles that waited ahead of the truck surged their way through the “one lane.” I slouched in my seat as each vehicle whizzed by unapologetically. Stagnant and in disbelief, I waited. Attempting to flash my headlights, half looking like a crazy person playing disco, I gripped my hands tighter to the wheel hoping they would get the signal. I sheepishly laughed on the side as I passive aggressively signaled my indicators. Each minute seemed to extend itself, gently reminding me of times merciless ticks. Rolling down my window, I peered toward the truck driver. He quickly got up and stood once more in the one lane. I revved my engine as hope welled up once more. As I drove toward the incoming cars, I quickly got an angry signal from the car ahead. I pulled my breaks. I stood my ground. Adamant and unwilling to budge I quickly watched their necks twist and arms flap as mouths filled with unmentionables surging out barbarically. I gripped the wheel harder. There was only three of us waiting to get the right of way. There was no way we would let him pass. I read the “aaah’s” that spelled from his mouth as he backed away giving the rest of us room. As I drove past I momentarily felt my lips unbutton and neck twist, as thought and “reason” nudged me to “share” my deep felt “sentiments.”
“if you want to know how grown you are in the Spirit, get in a traffic jam!”
I later got home that evening. Irked by human selfishness, I quickly patted myself on the back, as thought and “reason” lifted my defenses and grenades. For the most part it made no sense why any sensible human being would bypass a line of five for their own pending agenda. It made no sense why thrashing responses trumped logic and reasoning. It simply made no sense. Fumbling through my thoughts I snickered once more at the man who adamantly stood his ground the first time. I scavenged for my phone and quickly made a mental note: “if you want to know how grown you are in the Spirit, get in a traffic jam!” My laugh saw its lifeline. Silence. Brought to the forming memory yester-now, I soon saw my reflection in the shadow of his face; I soon saw the log that had adamantly lodged itself in my eye; I soon saw intimate memories of my own parallel actions. We stood on two ends of traffic. We stood on two ends of hearty opinion. We stood on two separate fences unwilling to move. Yet our unanimous disposition centered on this: I am right. Refusing to see beyond the truck, our vision was impaired not by the colossal metal object or the beaming headlights. No.
“You. Me. Everyone.”
“Let me take the speck out of your eye.” Trucks and logs often cause us to see one way. Yet our sure ability to “see” blinds us from the spiritual cataract that malignantly latches to our minds fortitude. Seldom times are we willing to look introspectively and realize that we all fall short. Whether our fall is a “simple” trip or a lunge from immeasurable heights, we all fall short. You. Me. Everyone. The err of humanity benches itself on our resolve to strongly grip onto logs of another landowner yet ignoring the forest that is spouting in our garden. Do not read this wrong. God is not calling us to a life of self-policing and hopeless condemnation. What He is calling us to, however, is a life of grace; a life that extends grace beyond the paradigms of self; a life that see’s beyond the one way, refusing all forms of narrow visual acuity; a life that see’s the grace that daily extends itself to you and me through the One- Jesus Christ.
“ ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.’” – The Adulterous Woman (Excerpt from John 8)
At His Feet…