September 7, 2020
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Two lanes were quickly merging into one. In my older, loaded-up van I was going slower than most, so many cars were trying to zip by me on the left. I tried to let as many through as I could, but eventually I would have to merge back and the blessed opening would close for everyone else.
And when I did, wow, the driver of the next car was not happy! He immediately gave me a two-fingered salute (one on each hand) followed by another unfriendly gesture, all the while shouting things I could not hear. He apparently felt greatly mistreated by my actions. And my brain flooded with thoughts.
First, since he was acting like a jerk, maybe I’d be justified in being a jerk back? Slow down even more and watch him go out of his mind? (Thankfully, I quickly dismissed that option… though in my younger years I might not have!)
Second, I noticed how much his actions bugged me. It wasn’t fair! I was driving safely, but I had to merge back at some point and I had delayed as long as I could. It reminded me how much I dislike conflict, and how incidents like this will stick with me for days. Conflict. Anger. Disunity. I just don’t like those things. So why does part of me want to keep on nurturing them by fighting back?
Finally, I thought about our current sermon series on division in our world. There is so much of it, and it’s so easy to choose it! And it’s not just on big issues like politics or race relations. We can experience division in just about everything in life, big and small, and when we do we have a choice: We can either stoke the fires of disunity, or we can extend grace and “bear with one another in love”. It always seems to me easier to do the former, but God is always nudging me to the latter.
What opportunities for choosing division or grace do you have before you today? Where might you extend love even if you don’t feel it’s totally deserved? Ask God today to help you see all the opportunities you have to combat division with the same amazing grace He’s extended to you.