If you were to ask me what I like most about my car, I would have to confess that it’s the horn. I love my horn and I use it all the time.
Recently, a friend and I were on our way, in my car, to have some lunch. We were chatting about a particular mentor of mine and the impact he has had on my life.
“What do you think is the most valuable lesson you have learned from him?” she asked. Without hesitating I gave her my response, “Patience. He has taught me a lot about being patient with people.”
Sounds like a great conversation, doesn’t it? Well, it would have been, if not for the driver in the car directly ahead of me, who seemed to be incapable of merging into a moving lane!
So, what my friend beside me heard was . . . “Patience,” immediately followed by a long horn blast [HONK!]. “He has taught me [HONK!] a lot about being patient with [HONK! HONK!] people.”
The timing could not have been more perfect had it been scripted. There was about a five second pause while we both took in all that had just happened – we then started laughing [my laugh was more out of sheer embarrassment] and it lasted all the way to the restaurant.
I found this quote from John Wesley, “The longer I live, the larger allowances I make for human infirmities. I exact more from myself and less from others.”
When I think about this quote I’m reminded of how often the reverse seems to be working in some areas of my life – I’m very patient with my own shortcomings and intolerant when I see the faults of others. I make excuses when it comes to my own mistakes and focus on the positive things that aren’t a struggle for me. This way I won’t have to change and I can go on justifying my actions.
Sounds pretty sad, doesn’t it? That’s because it is . . . but don’t judge me too quickly though – I’m pretty sure I’m not standing alone.
Preferring one another in Christ is a choice we have to make every day. We live in a society that tells us we are deserving, that we have to fight to get ahead and, in my case, that we shouldn’t be held up by slow drivers in front of us. I have to make a conscious decision to die to self so that God’s purpose can be alive in me.
Lately my prayer has been, “Lord, help me to be as patient with others [especially while I’m driving] as I am with myself.” I’ll be honest with you, it’s been really hard! Partly because we see the “spiritual” side of our lives as separate from the normal day-to-day things we do. For example, under the spiritual column we would probably list: praying, going to church, worshipping, etc. Under the “things we do” column we would find, driving, waiting in line at the grocery store, walking the dog… When in reality there are no columns! We need to view everything we do as an act of worship – it can be, if we allow it.
Change is never easy and I’m thankful for the God of infinite mercy who has chosen to be patient while I work at allowing more of His character to be developed in me. It’s a daily struggle . . . but this week I’m happy to report that I used my horn much less!