Violent Drivers

On a busy stretch of highway between Birmingham and Montgomery, I found myself in a traffic jam of epic proportions.  A trip that normally takes 1.5 hours, took me over four.  While waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic that was stopped more than it was rolling, I took note of a Dad pulling to the side so his child could get out and pee.

As traffic started to slowly move out, I crept slowly forward and suddenly heard the loudest crunch and horns blaring behind me.  I didn’t feel the thump of movement on my own vehicle, so I was confident I hadn’t been rear-ended. In my rearview mirror, I watched the truck directly behind me moving forward while a smaller vehicle had been zipping up the shoulder and had to stop because of the child using the side of the road as a restroom…and yet the smaller car tried to nose its way into traffic ahead of the truck.  Essentially striking the truck, which DESTROYED its bumper and the hood started to crumple.

That wasn’t the alarming part of this road rage story.

I then saw the driver of the small vehicle on the shoulder (the one who was very clearly in a hurry and frankly, in the wrong), exit his car and come running up to the truck’s passenger side window.  He launched himself into the window and started screaming…and from the rearview mirror, it looked like he was about to start hitting the teen driving the truck.  He reached for the gear shift or the keys. 

In all honestly, I thought I was going to watch him shoot the driver of the truck. As I watched in my rear-view mirror, I was dumbfounded by the scene unfolding directly behind me. I then glanced left and saw the Dad hustling to get his kid back into their car and out of the direct line of fire.

I prayed out loud for the Dad and young child. I prayed that the angered driver would calm down. I prayed that the teen driver of the truck wouldn’t be harmed. 

While I was praying, Proverbs 14:29 came to mind, “One who is slow to anger has great understanding, But one who is quick-tempered exalts foolishness.” (NASB).

The very angry driver was the one who had been in the wrong.  Compounding his negligent driving was the fact he was out of control with his anger.  In fact, he looked very scary and dangerous.  Foolish.

Our ability to control our anger is a reaction that is learned.  God gives us directions in the book of James regarding being slow to anger.  “You know this, my beloved brothers and sisters Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 (NASB). 

I’m sure in the heat of the moment, the angered driver didn’t give two hoots about honoring God.  However, as a Christian, a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend, and as an example of what it looks like to walk with the Lord…I want to honor God in all that I do.  Including how I would react in a car accident so that I’m not seen as the violent driver!

In the next week, I pray that we each have opportunities to exercise our own “slowness to anger” and that all of us are walking examples of Christ’s love.


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