Student Driver

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”

Ephesians 4:26

I am not sure who taught you to drive, but whoever it was must have had a lot of patience. I know this because both of my parents took turns teaching me how to drive, with my dad taking on the bulk of the assignment. Our old truck did not have air bags or power steering, and it had a manual transmission. The air conditioning consisted of me rolling down the window and opening up the side vent, so it was void of today’s luxuries. I’m sure my driving took years off of my mom’s life. I once was driving with her and did not have a good driving session, and she quickly instructed me to pull over and get out of the driver’s seat. My ego was defeated but I knew it was warranted.

Rebekah taught our son to drive and I sometimes assisted with back seat driver’s instruction. Kate recently got her driver’s permit, and she wanted me to teach her how to drive instead of Rebekah. Kate is a lot like me in many ways, so we can sometimes bump heads. I was coming home from a work lunch when Rebekah met me in the garage to tell me Kate wanted to go out for a driving lesson. I had other things on my mind and other things on my to-do list. I tried to tell Rebekah that, but when I went inside, Kate had her purse and her smile and was ready to cruise the Arizona streets.

I told her I was going to the bathroom and then I would take her. I took my time and when I get out to the garage, she was in the driver’s seat with the air blasting and a smile on her face. I became upset that she had been sitting there wasting gas when I told her that I would be using the bathroom. I yelled at her to get out of the driver’s seat as I did not trust her to back out of the garage.

I got into the driver’s seat and was giving her a good scolding when she made a face I did not like. I thought she was being disrespectful, so I turned off the car and told her the driving session was over. She was shocked at my proclamation, and anger and disappointment flooded her face. I walked into the house fit to be tied when Rebekah looked at me with a glare that would start a prison riot. She had heard me from the garage, and she was mad at me as well. As you can imagine, this did not calm me down, so I walked into my room to gather my thoughts. I took about five minutes and decided I needed to take Kate out in spite of my anger.

I took Kate out driving and she was reluctant to go, even though I was telling her and not asking her. She had been crying as I had broken her spirit, and I began to realize I was wrong for getting upset. We got home from the driving lesson, and I asked her for forgiveness. She forgave me and explained she was not trying to be disrespectful. I recalled the five minutes by myself in my room when I felt God was telling me to make it right or I would be causing irreparable harm.

I am ashamed to tell you this story, but I imagine all of us have struggled with anger at some time or another. The Bible tells us to “be angry and sin not”, which I am not sure I have ever accomplished. Do you have a problem with anger? Do you allow it to harbor in your life? Do you internalize it and let it lead to bitterness? Do you externalize it and lash out against others? How many relationships have been ruined due to your anger? Who do you need to make things right with today? Who do you need to ask for forgiveness? We often lash out at the ones closest to us, and we fail to realize our sin in these matters. Ephesians 4:32 states, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.“ May we be kind to those who push our buttons, and respond with kindness and forgiveness instead of anger.

Stay in the Fight!

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