The road rage confrontation that occurred in Vegas this weekend and resulted in the death of a 44 year old mother captured my attention and that of many others. This morning the details changed somewhat and we heard that there had been no collision or contact between the two vehicles involved, but that angry words had been exchanged. The mother and her daughter had returned to their home safely after the initial incident, but then the mother got her adult son, armed with a 9 mm handgun, to join her in their car in order to search in the neighborhood for the offending vehicle. Without judging either party, it appears that the entire disaster could have been avoided if biblical advice had been followed, specifically Proverbs 21:23 “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” We let our emotions, usually pride and anger, take over our minds and act out verbally, physically or do both without taking time to think and more importantly, for believers, to pray.
In our instant gratification world, we want to take matters into our own hands and react while the perceived hurt is fresh in our minds. I can remember a similar incident in my own life. I had come down with some flu or virus and asked a cousin to accompany me to the doctor’s office because I was feeling so ill. We were cut off by another vehicle and this cousin reached over as I drove and hit the horn excessively, leaning on it even though I told her to stop. Honking the horn may be viewed as the beginning of a verbal attack. We can’t shout and be heard so we let a horn speak for us. We were blessed, as I see it now, by a policeman who happened to be nearby. He pulled me over and verbally corrected this error in judgement. My cousin admitted to what she had done and the officer allowed us to continue on our way after a strong warning to avoid such conflict. How differently it might have ended if he had not been on the scene. My illness had protected me from reacting as my cousin had, but there’s always that temptation to “let off steam.” How much better to follow the advice stated so clearly in James 1:19 “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Very true! Think about any argument in which you have ever been involved. Couldn’t much of the heartache and anger have been diffused if you’d taken the time to remove yourself and think things over? God has to be included for this to be successful. We need to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, pray to God for understanding and use the mind of Christ to lead us. In terms of our place in eternity, just how important is this problem or offense? Remember WWJD? How many disasters, calamities or hurt feelings could be avoided if we just kept quiet and let God?
There was a big upheaval in the church I attended a number of years ago. People took sides over the dismissal of a church employee. At a church council meeting, horrible verbal attacks and threats were delivered against the pastor and others by supporters of the dismissed employee. I had been on the side of the latter, but after witnessing this explosion of emotions I wanted to avoid any further conflict and refused to discuss, or should I say, avoided the constant rehashing of the problem. I prayed for healing and peace for myself and both sides in the argument. I thought of the fine Christian gentleman who I knew was intelligent and wondered why he hadn’t said anything during the evening. I believe now that he was following biblical advice regarding guarding the tongue. In the future I pray that I may follow his fine example. I can lean on the times when I have taken the time to pray and not say anything. How much better each situation was able to be resolved! As humans we want to control situations when it would be much wiser to defer to God and let Him handle the conflict. Think and pray, take time out and wait on God for the answer.