Diffusing Road Rage

by Cynthia L. Simmons @CynthiaLSimmons

The wisdom from above is first pure then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. James 3:17 NASB

I’d never seen road rage before, but when I did, it horrified me. After a quick stop at the grocery store, I pulled back onto the highway, making a right turn on the way to the far-left lane. However, a truck in the left lane was moving fast, so I edged into the right lane to let him pass. I never came close to him.

Once he sped by, I eased behind him, but then he weaved around and stopped at a green light. What on earth?  Rather than sit, I went around him, but the moment I came up beside him, he gunned his motor. My heart sped up. Did he think we were drag racing?  I passed him and another car and moved left into the left turn lane at the next traffic light.

My heart froze when I saw the truck move into the left turn lane, too. Could he be following me? Terrifying. Night had fallen, and I had no desire to confront a strange man. I wasn’t far from home. My mind whirred, trying to think what I should do. The light turned green, and I turned left. I watched in the rear view mirror as the truck gunned his motor while turning left behind me.

If I went home, he would know where I live, but my husband, Ray, was there. I called and asked him to meet me outside. I had one more turn until I reached my street, and I shuddered as the truck made the next turn behind me. What a relief to see Ray at the mailbox! I drove right into the garage and closed the door. The truck hovered at the end of our driveway. My husband went over to reason with the driver, while I scurried inside.

Still shaking, I sat down to study for my Sunday school lesson, and a particular verse popped off the page: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17 NASB). What a contrast to what I just experienced! This verse was worth considering.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote these words, emphasizing the word pure. The Greek word means blameless, without intent to harm, innocent. I must admit, my reaction was to scream inside my head for revenge, because I was so shaken, but Ray did the opposite. He demonstrated no desire to harm even when he discovered the truck driver was on the phone with the police, clearly overreacting.

Notice the next words in that verse: peaceable and gentle. These two adjectives are important in any dispute. Imagine what could have happened if Ray had yelled at the man or accused him of being foolish or hot tempered. Anger tends to breed more anger, so the situation could have ended in a fist fight. Instead, Ray gently allowed the man to vent and reasoned with him that his truck sustained no damage. As he did that, the driver admitted I only came within six feet of him, not very close at all. Ray also demonstrated mercy by not demanding an apology from the man for his poor choices.

Finally, look at the last words in the verse: full of good fruits means demonstrating a response to the Holy Spirit. Unwavering is standing firm and without hypocrisy is simply being honest.

Ray’s choice to approach a tense situation with kindness, firmness, and honesty diffused the situation. The truck driver finally left quietly.

The wisdom from above requires that we look deep into our hearts and respond to difficulties as God would. It works!

Diffusing Road Rage – insight and encouragement from @CynthiaLSimmons on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to tweet)

Cynthia-Simmons-5About the author: Former home school mother of five, Cynthia has a special spot in her heart for young moms and loves to encourage all women to pursue God. She hosts Heart of the Matter Radio, and writes inspirational fiction and non-fiction.  Find her at www.clsimmons.com.

Join the conversation: Have the words James advises ever impacted your handling of a tense situation?