“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4: 32 (ESV)
Is it unrealistic to expect kindness during rush hour?
What does kindness even look like on our early morning commutes to work, school, or medical visits? If I am intentional about looking for it, what will I see?
I expect to hear drivers cursing, horns honking, and see angry hand gestures if the traffic stops. To feel the hair rise on the back of my neck as drivers ride the tail wind of my bumper until they risk a head on collision.
How in the world can I be kind to drivers, much less tenderhearted? Biting my tongue, I focus on forgiving all the annoying weaving drivers. After all, God in Christ forgave me so I will do my best to forgive others.
Am I exhibiting kindness if I avoid muttering under my breath, resist the temptation to honk, and ignore the rude hand gestures? Is it whispering a prayer of safety as reckless drivers jeopardize others? Or praising God that the oncoming traffic stops without screeching tires?
Proverbs 3: 3-4 (NASB) states , “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”
Kindness is so important that the bible instructs for us to bind it around our neck. To write it on the tablet of our heart.
Early Jews carefully copied Scripture and enclosed it in a leather case. They tied the pouch to their arm which is similar to the way I clasp a necklace around my neck. They wore scripture around their arm, so they would have it accessible. I wear my necklace, so I won’t forget that “I am blessed.”
If we write kindness on our hearts, our feelings, attitude, and actions should magnify it. We may be annoyed by reckless drivers, but we can choose to redirect our thoughts towards kinder actions. We can yield and allow the tail-gaters to zoom on down the road.
When we show kindness we find favor in the eyes of God.
I’m no expert on spotting kindness. But I think kind drivers may actually avoid the lanes frequently traveled by weaving drivers. When fast cars approach from the rear, they shift to the right lane when allowed. They don’t wait until a car is riding their bumper, honking or worse.
Kind drivers slowed as other vehicles maneuvered in tight spaces. They stopped completely for school buses and moved out of the path of firetrucks and ambulances. They were smiling, yielding, and forgiving others’ misjudgments without even one honk!
Kind drivers are pleasant to ride with on this journey called life.
As my vehicle was locked in a traffic standstill, I saw an elderly couple in the Wal-Green’s parking lot. The gray haired lady was pushing a man in a wheelchair and positioning it just right so that he could stand holding on to the roof’s edge of the 2 door sedan.
The man’s leg lurched and he fell back towards the wheelchair. But the wheelchair rolled away and he fell. His wife leaned forward and stopped his body from hitting the pavement. They remained in that position as if time had frozen.
A car parked, a truck backed up, and people walked out of the store passing the couple….but nobody seemed to notice.
For some reason the couple didn’t shout out for help. They concentrated on the struggle to lift his leg toward the passenger seat.
The woman’s arms were dropping towards the pavement when a homeless man dropped his bundles of black garbage bags onto the sidewalk. He walked through the bushes separating the sidewalk from the parking lot. He respectfully and gently lifted the man into the passenger seat of the car.
The poorly dressed man was willing, gentle, and helpful to the couple. When the lady reached into her purse and stretched out her hand towards him, he didn’t accept her gift. Just picked up his bags and sauntered on down the busy street.
When people show kindness, the ride is pleasant and everyone safely arrives to their destination with a smile on their face.
Heavenly Father, you are kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. Thank you for showing me how I can apply kindness even during rush hour traffic. For softening my heart towards others who are running late. For reminding me not to rush past people who need help. To drive respectfully and to remember that I have been forgiven for much. Help me to forgive others. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.