judging other people (especially other drivers)

Category : different, faith, living a life of faith, sin, trust

……….

It snowed last night.  Approximately 1/1000th of an inch.  Well maybe a bit more than that.  But not much more.  Now I don’t know about you.  But in my city that means everything gets shut down.  It also means that there are certain drivers who become more aggressive than normal.  Or perhaps they are just the same level of aggression, and it’s just that the rest of us just use common sense.  But either way, the bad drivers really stand out in this kind of weather.

Even though I was on the highway for only a few minutes I manged to get one of these lovely drivers behind me.  Which means that while everyone else on the highway was driving at about 15 mph Mr. I-don’t-need-to-follow-traffic-patterns decided to try and pass me on the shoulder of an off ramp.

Apparently he was in a hurry to stop at the red light.

Now I’ve written before about being a Christian driver.  I’ve also written that we seem to lose that Christian feeling once we get behind the wheel.  I’ll forgive my enemies but not my fellow drivers.  At least that seems to be what happens in church parking lots.  But in this particular case I noticed I had an overwhelming urge to turn to the guy and say something just as he finally passed.  Of course in turning my desires weren’t exactly  socially acceptable or very Christian.  Actually those urges weren’t Christian at all.

Frankly that reaction surprised me.  I was taken back (although I probably shouldn’t be) by how strong my desire for judgment was.  I wanted to make that guy know that he was an idiot and that I didn’t appreciate him putting my life in jeopardy.

It’s funny though.  We work so hard to prove that we are right.  To show other people that they are in the wrong.  And it’s by that very action we put ourselves and others in danger.

That’s one of the unexpected outcomes of judgment.  It puts us, and others, in jeopardy.  Think about it for a moment.  When you are judging other people, what usually happens?  You lose your temper.  You act in anger with a smug sense of being right.  “I was wronged!” we think.  And that attitude lets us feel justified in doing whatever we feel like.

In my case I went from criticizing a bad driver to becoming one myself.  I went from being the normal, smart driver to being just as aggressive and insane as he was.  I was willing to put myself and others at risk, just to make a point.

What kind of response is that?!

Fortunately I didn’t.  I choose to keep my eyes on the road.  It wasn’t easy.  I really wanted to pass judgment on that guy.  I really wanted to say some pretty unpleasant things.  At least under my breath.  But one of the advantages of writing R3 has been the accountability that comes with being public about your faith.  And in this moment, accountability won out.  Chalk one up for living out a life of faith!

The irony is that judgment rarely matters in the end.  We work ourselves up over what someone said or what they did.  We get furious that someone cut in line or smoked a cigarette.  We call people horrible names who vote differently than us.  We mock people who like different sports teams.

But what does that serve?  What good comes out of it?

Nothing.

Instead it just feeds our anger and judgmental nature.  The more judgments you make about people, the more judgmental you become.  No one has ever become a more loving person by being more judgmental.

Maybe God knew what he was talking about when he said judgment was his to pass, and not ours.  Funny how often that turns out to be true.

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