This event occurred 3 days ago on April 17. It took a couple of days of reflection which aligned with some spiritual reading.
Consider the following. You are an experienced driver and have relocated temporarily to a new country for career reasons. You need to re-certify and re-test your driving skills. The authorities in the new country have an oral test as part of their certification process.
The scenario is that you are driving at the legal speed limit along a two lane country road. As you crest the top of the hill, and descend down the road, you spot two bicyclists riding side by side, occupying the entire lane you are in, as they cycle in the direction you are driving towards. The cyclists are clearly not following the laws in how they are riding. They are about 700 meters ahead of you.
The tester asks – What would you do as the driver? By the way, the roads are wet and there’s a slight drizzle/rain at this moment.
Let’s switch roles in this scenario. You are now a hiker walking alongside this country road. You can clearly see a possible bad situation developing.
You observe the driver of the vehicle does not slow down at all, as the brake lights are not illuminated. And never will be. In fact, the driver maintains the vehicle speed and comes up behind the cyclist. The driver horns loudly, the cyclists are startled and quickly get into single file to the side of the road. The driver overtakes, but does NOT move fully into mythe other lane despite there being no on-coming traffic.
As a Christian, as any normal person, it’s very difficult not to be judgmental about the driver in this scenario.
There were many options. The driver could have alerted the cyclists by horning way in advance. The driver could have slowed down. The driver could have driven fully on the other lane when over taking.
Perhaps the driver was very annoyed at the cyclists for not adhering to the laws of the road. Perhaps the irritation was compounded by some emotional disturbance earlier that’s totally un-related. Perhaps the driver wanted to convey a lesson in road rules and safety.
I am reading Jacques Philip’s “The Eight Doors of the Kingdom”. It’s about the Beatitudes. In particular, the third Beatitude says, “Blessed are the Meek for they shall inherit the Earth”.
Jacques highlighted that Psalm 37 invites us not to let the wrong doing, the injustices, the evil, etc. invade and infest our hearts with impurities – resentment, anger, condemnation, etc. – else, we too become accomplices of that we detest.
How does this relate to the driving scenario?
Consider the driver as a lost or mis-guided soul, who on current trajectory, may also be hurting those closest to him/her. The rush to judge a person’s character (vs a one-off action or behavior) is now replaced by Compassion, if we seek to cultivate Meekness.
Meekness does not imply one does not stand up against wrong doing, injustice, evil, etc. Rather, stand up but guard one’s heart.
Meekness is Kindness, Tenderness and Benevolence.