, "Who does he think he is?"
"My time is as important as hers!"
"That @#$% cut me off!"
"Why can't they have it all together before they get to the register?"
"Can't he read the sign?"
As I look over recent days . . . weeks . . . months . . . and years, I know some form of the above statements, as well as others, have escaped my lips. The feelings attached have lingered long enough to make my morning miserable, cause me to miss teachable moments with my kids and built up to the point my loved ones paid in some way. And while my day may be ruined, it is possible that that person had no idea what had happened.
Recently, I read a book called Dropping Your Rock by Nicole Johnson. She takes the familiar Bible story of the adulterous woman presented to Jesus by religious leaders in John 8 and makes the reader part of the scene. Jesus was teaching a crowd of people in the temple courts when the woman was dragged in by her accusers. Imagine her shame. Perhaps she was wearing no clothing. Perhaps her skin was scraped, bruised and bleeding from her capture and transport. They made her stand before Jesus and the crowd he had been teaching. You know the Law of Moses. She is to be stoned to death. You pick up your stone, ready to do your duty. But Jesus bends down, scratching in the dirt (don't you wish you knew what he had written in the dirt that day?). Moments later, after being drilled with questions, Jesus stands up and welcomes any that are without sin to cast the first stone.
Imagine this woman, trembling, crouched on the ground. Bracing herself, waiting to feel the first strike. Slowly, her accusers and those ready to carry out her punishment walk away. As they each drop their rock, the ground releases soft deep thumps. All of those who had stood ready to judge and kill her, knew in their hearts that they were not without sin.
So, as I speed through my day, ready to stone anyone who impedes my progress and plan, do I really believe that I have not ever affected others? Have I ever cut anyone off in traffic before? Accidental or purposefully? Better drop my rock. Have I ever been late for an appointment, due to my poor planning or events that I could not control? Better drop my rock. Have I ever had a child misbehave loudly in a public place? Better drop my rock. Have I ever been unsure of where I am going? Better drop my rock.
Every car you see on the highway, every house you pass along the streets . . . they all have stories. And all of those stories have good parts and bad parts. You don't know where the the guy who just cut you off is at in his story. Maybe he has a sick family member. Maybe he has lost his job. Maybe there is some kind of substance abuse present. Maybe there is a marriage in peril. Instead of picking up a rock to stone him, say a prayer for him . . .
Update (5/31/12): After reading John 8 with my three daughters this morning, I shared this post with them to further our discussion. I feel compelled to add to the last sentence. My prayers should not just be for the other person, but for myself also. Prayers for help to drop my rock...prayers of thankfulness that I may not be dealing with what someone else is facing...thankfulness for having a place to rest...thankfulness for my redemption, paid for through Jesus' blood.
In addition to this, I would like to share a post by Terri Brady, "Grace: Pass it on!". I know that I was blessed by it. Additionally, here's a great post by Lysa Terkeurst that convicted me down to my toes for those times I've had "the perfect comeback"