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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Traffic Witness

Recently I posted this to Facebook... the resulting discussion was so interesting that I thought I would share it here as well.

Driving in rush-hour traffic this morning. Saw that a big tanker truck had pulled partially out into the road, blocking one lane on a 2-lane stretch with no shoulder. My instinct was to move over into the left lane to avoid the chance of getting into a mess, but I started to zig without looking first. I saw the white BMW before I pulled out in front of it and zagged back into my lane. I freely admit that this was my bad, starting to make a lane change without looking out for traffic first.

The person in the Beamer wanted to make sure I knew how bad I was. As he or she flew past (apparently without touching his or her brake pedal at all), he or she blew his or her horn at me. The incident was over; this was not to warn me that I was making a mistake. This was a punitive horn honk; censure, not alarm. I was being yelled at.

Turns out we were headed along the same route. We got off the highway at the same place, and I pulled up behind Beeping Beamer at the stop light. Guess what I saw in the back window of the car?

A church logo sticker.

If I had not been a Christian but knew what the sticker was, this would have reinforced several stereotypes for me, the most important being "Being a Christian doesn't make any change in a person." Another would be "Wealthy Christians are jerks, just like other wealthy people." There might even be an element of "that person isn't really a Christian, they just use the church to get more money" in there, which would be totally ungrounded in reality, but people think these kinds of things. If you have a sticker advertising your church, or your faith, or even a Christian radio station on your car, do you want to give out that kind of message? To broaden the question: if people know you are a Christian, whether you're wearing your WWJD t-shirt or not, what kind of message are you broadcasting with your actions?

I know tons of wonderful Christians who can testify that God HAS made a change in their hearts. Some of them are financially comfortable; some maybe not as much. Wealthy or not, having Jesus in your life DOES make a change, or at least He will if you let Him. But none of us are perfect. We do get cranky in rush-hour traffic. We do have the impulse to honk our horns in anger. But I think it's worth it to remember that people are watching. The things we do reflect on the Christ inside of us. Let's make our actions match up with the gift of life we've been given.

Have a thought about our actions reflecting our beliefs as Christians? Having stickers advertising your church on your car? Looking before you switch lanes? Sound off by clicking the "Comments" link below this post!

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