By Karen Winkelman
Something happens when you sit behind the wheel of a car. I think it has something to do with control. You are “on the throne”. You have freedom to drive where you want to drive. Even with other capable drivers in the car, you decide which way to turn and how fast you go.
The problem is that every other person on the road is “on the throne” in their car, too. We may share the road, but we aren’t pleased when another “king” or “queen” overrules our plans. We talk and act in ways we wouldn’t if we were spending time in a store or a church together.
I should confess before I go further that I like to drive. In fact, I have a secret desire to drive on a speedway. Fast! My husband can attest to this. “Whoa,” he says, “Hold on, kids. Mom’s driving.”
Anyway, back to being on the throne, I mean, in the driver’s seat. I have been making a conscious effort to change my point of view and hopefully arrive at my destination with lower blood pressure. I wonder if the man on my bumper is trying to get to a hospital to be with his wife. Or maybe the woman who just cut me off has children waiting for her somewhere. The elderly gentleman driving 15 miles under the speed limit could be like my grandfather, making his daily trip to the grocery store and enjoying a sense of independence. Perhaps that driver inching around the corner in front of me has 18 dozen eggs in his truck.
After all, giving the benefit of doubt to others is something I appreciate when others give it to me. It reminds me of the exhortation in Philippians 2:3-7:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Humility. Considering others. Stepping off the throne. A radical change of pace for the road and for all my relationships.
My husband and I had this passage read at our wedding. I’m learning to practice the same exercise—giving the benefit of doubt to others on the road—for him and our children at home. (I confess I sometimes like to take the throne there, too.) I have learned that I can’t drive with an attitude like Christ in my own strength. Only by yielding to and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit does that take place.
And I pray I will look more like Christ Jesus and less like a race car driver when I get to the finish line…