Right opposite the Coetzenburg Athletics Stadium in Stellenbosch is a small bridge across the Eersterivier. Only one car at a time can use the bridge. Most people are decent. They allow one car to cross from the other side of the bridge and wait their turn. Now and then a second car will slip across, usually to be greeted by a loud honking of horns on the other side and maybe a couple of hand signs from the other drivers politely waiting their turn.
My daughter told us about some traffic congestion at the bridge. The cars came to a complete standstill and lines formed on all sides. With her scooter she was able to move around the cars waiting in line and when she reached the bridge, she could see what was causing the congestion. Two cars were standing nose to nose in the middle of the bridge, both refusing to reverse.
Why are humans wired like that? Why do we insist on making our point and do not make allowances for other people?
I suspect it is when people have not yet made God part of their lives. These people only think of themselves. The good news that God has chosen them, that everybody is special, and that God loves them very much has not reached them yet.
But how should the actions look of those who believe in the good news? Paul gives practical advice: 12… Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
The two on the bridge did not care much for others. Not for the driver right in front of him or her, and even less for the other drivers all caught up in the traffic congestion.
Apparently they eventually got out of their cars and started shouting at one another. Maybe they simply thought too much of themselves. And as a result they have no shame in being rude and not being nice and polite to others.
This might be an extreme example and many of us might not do something like this. But let’s look at the disagreements we have with our loved ones, our friends, colleagues or employees. Certainly, there will be times when we do not agree. That’s life. The challenge is to resolve the disagreement in such a way that everybody can accept the solution.
If the own self wants to be at the head of the line every time, there will be little change of finding any solution. That is why you have to know your place and make allowances for the way that others think and do. Sometimes it will be better than what we suggested and tried. Be friendly. Be interested in others and really care. It costs nothing, but it will make such a big difference in the other person’s life.
The cleaner and the car guard at the gym and I have become great friends – simply because I’m really interested, greet them every time, and ask after them and their families.
It is such wonderful news that God has chosen you and me, that He regards us as special and loves us very, very much. Let’s show our gratitude by really caring for others. Let’s be really nice. Let’s know our place and allow others to also do their thing. Let’s handle everybody well, even the angry ones.
Do you always care?
Are you always nice?
Do you always give space?
Father, I have so much to do. My own ego is so strong. I know I have to care more. I know I have to be friendlier sometimes. I know I have to give more recognition to others and give them more space. I cannot do that on my own. Please help me.