The Parable of The Short Tempered Christian

Every night I have to cross the Second Severn Crossing to get home. This should be easy but every so often you get stuck for no apparent reason. Tonight was one of those nights.

I car-share and only have to drive every third week; this week is one of those weeks.

My 2 colleagues know I’m a Christian and I’m often asked about my faith. I’m only to happy to share my faith with them and answer any questions they have. Tonight was not one of those nights.

As we queued to get to the toll booths we had people trying to push in front of us. Some just pushed and others indicated. Now I had one of those days where things have gone well but something started the “going home whinge”. By the time we got to the toll queue I was in a very bad mood but for no apparent reason.

A woman in the lane next to us had tried to push in front of a few cars in front of us with no joy. People in the lane on the other side had just forced their way in and I was getting annoyed. I made it clear that I was going to move forward relentlessly.

The colleague next to me asked why I wasn’t a “Christian Driver”. I pointed out that I could find no eveidence in the bible that we had to be. I said I’d seen nothing about giving right of way to someone else’s chariot or ass. However I relented and let in the lady in the next lane and saw that a car in front of her had broken down.

I tried to brighten my mood but could only do so for a short time. My colleagues started to playfully suggest that I should do something to get them home quicker, as they would if they were driving. I pointed out that this was slightly impossible (in slightly different words) as the lanes were all congested.

Then the people who had changed lanes moved back and we moved forward faster. However as we approached the booths we found that the people to our left had actually been queuing between lanes and were trying to take advantage of this fact by moving back over, without indicating.

This time I decided that nothing was keeping me from that toll booth. So I moved forward and left no gap for anyone to get in front of me. The guy at the front looked rather upset as about 5 other cars in front did the same but he hadn’t indicated, just tried to force his way in. Having driven in London for 10 years I know how to stand my ground.

Again my colleague commented on my “Christian Driving” (or lack of it).

When I’d dropped them off I started thinking. Was this the way to advertise my Christianity to others? I don’t suppose it is. Yet, aren’t Christians allowed to have an off day as well? Aren’t we subject to the same highs and lows as anyone else?

Maybe I should have been more inclined to let people move out in front of me. On the other hand does being a Christian mean that we should be a doormat for the world to wlk over? How do we know when we are being to far over on either side of the equation?

More importantly, have I damaged the image of a Christian in the eyes of my colleagues?

2 thoughts on “The Parable of The Short Tempered Christian

  1. Or, perhaps, you’ve done some good – I sometimes think that when people comment on what they perceive as Christian behaviour, there’s a subtext – along the lines of: one of the reasons I have no intention of becoming a Christian is that I wouldn’t want to have to adopt that behaviour …

  2. Christian life is always a challenge… 😉

    Being British brings its own problems to the mix I always think. Christians from other cultures more assertive than ours would not be challenged by the behaviour you describe above… but we are… and our non-believing countrywo/men also judge us by our cultural norms as well as by what their impression of what a Christian is and how s/he should behave.

    I don’t think we should be doormats but I think we are called to higher standards of living than others. The drivers switching lanes were contravening the standard rules of the road, not you. So by not allowing them to bully you, you were “encouraging” them to consider their actions.

    Added to this, I guess we have to remember to be gracious and forgive others their selfish driving behaviour – and sometimes allow them to get away with their bad habits.

    As for your car sharers, I’m sure they understood your frustrations and maybe the next time a similar situation occurs you’ll be able to talk about this most recent incident and how it made you think. They should respect you for that.

Comments are closed.