On Sunday I was driving home from Buffalo with two other sisters. At one point we were going over a bridge, and I tend to be a little extra cautious on bridges. So I was driving about 5 miles below the speed limit and I stayed in the center lane because I feel safer there than on the outer lane.
Anyway, there was nobody behind me until a lone car came speeding up. It was toward the end of the bridge so I went over but as the car passed me he made an obscene gesture at me. I guess it because he thought I was going too slow. Is our society getting so rude and crude that people don't have any courtesy anymore?
Then shortly after that we were on the Mass. Pike and I went into the left lane to pass a car. As I got back into the right hand lane, the person driving the other car started to honk at me a lot--I guess he thought I was too close to him and maybe thought I was trying to cut him off (which I wasn't). I had a feeling he was going to try some other form of "revenge" so I kept my eye on the car as he sped up, got into the left lane and passed me. As he came up to our car, he deliberately started going over the white line as if to edge us off the lane and then passed really close in front of me. I decided not to honk at him and just slowed down a bit and let him go.
Things like that are really annoying and I was starting to feel angry about it. But then all of a sudden Jesus' words in the sermon on the mount came back to me, what he said about responding with a blessing when people curse you. It struck me that I had a choice about how to react. If I got angry, I'd just be upset and ruin the rest of my drive. If I let it go I'd have more peace and serenity. I couldn't do anything about it anyway--people do all kinds of crazy things on the road.
When Jesus told us not to respond to anger with anger, he was really telling us how to have peace of mind. By getting angry the first person I hurt is myself. I've done it so many times--I get angry and even if I don't say anything, I might stew about it for a while and then my peace of mind goes out the door.
Jesus was telling us, instead, that if we can forgive these little things we'll have a much happier life.
Lord, help me to follow your wisdom!