Bumper Cars & Bandaids
Life! It’s pretty much Bumper Cars and Bandaids when you consider our options. Yes, we have options. Every single day we have options to make choices to enforce our will in opposition to others, giving them a good jolt against the rails, or we can choose to provide the bandaids of life, promoting healing.
The Scriptural perspective…
Of course, it is important! Pulling out of the driveway and onto the street not hesitating one second before moving the shifter from reverse to drive and stepping on the accelerator.
As you approach the entrance to your subdivision, you see that apparently several of your neighbors have the same idea, as they have effectively blocked your egress by positioning four other vehicles waiting to turn before you.
Not being willing to deal with that, you do a u-turn right there and cut over three blocks to another entrance where you as hoped find no one else waiting to inject their vehicles onto the busy street. Especially those who had the audacity to turn left coming out of the subdivision in heavy traffic.
You quickly make your right turn, exiting onto the street as a small gap in the traffic permits. Feeling gloriously triumphant in the first challenge of the day you shoot a death stair at the line up still waiting to make left turns from the first entrance you approached just before then.
“Clueless drones.”, you thought to yourself, “They really should get a life!”, as you step on the accelerator just a bit harder so as to prevent the front one from having the opportunity to get out into traffic.
Could Be Us
We are enduring one of the most selfish generations in history. Not only that, we are participating in it a lot of the time. We snicker a bit thinking, “no harm no foul”, as we cut someone off from their obviously intended path. Or perhaps even worse we are to absorbed in our own activity that we never even saw the obvious nor considered what our ‘Christian responsibility’ was at the time.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things — as I warned you before — that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 (CSB)
I underlined a few items on this list of things that Paul was expressing to the Galatians. These are typical behaviors that we tend to justify outrightly or overtly in our daily lives. Bumper cars if you will. I didn’t underline idolatry, but I probably should have as ‘self-worship’ is perhaps the greatest common failing in our walk with the Lord.
But I do think that if we are mature enough followers of Jesus Christ then the realization of the idols we construct in our lives comes to clarity fairly quickly in the light of God’s Word and should be one of our early steps as we seek to follow the Master.
The ones I underlined I believe tend to be pervasive only because we tend to either feel justified or disregard the actions as being wrong.
‘Hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, and envy’, these are the common ones.
Hatred – Unforgiveness of our Enemies.
Strife – Injecting discord into our dealings with each other anywhere.
Jealousy – If we just had more then we could be satisfied.
Outbursts of anger – When the traffic maneuver you plotted was thwarted by another driver, perhaps.
Selfish ambitions – Oh, we know this one all too well.
Dissention – Gossipping is a huge form of this but whatever form it takes it serves to elevate self by tearing down another.
Factions – We call them clicks and rare is the individual that doesn’t participate in them regardless of our disdain for them when we happen to be one of those stuck outside it.
Envy – Our compulsion to be annoyed by what others achieve or possess.
These seem to pop up out of nowhere and before we know it we have completely failed our mission.
Failed Our Mission?
See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (CSB)
We are to be the light of the world, according to Jesus. How can any of the common demonstrations of the flesh be exhibited when we are faithful to our mission as Disciples of Jesus.
If we were to take seriously this passage in 1 Thessalonians there isn’t a single one of those manifestations that would be allowed to the surface.
Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:1-2 (CSB)
Please don’t think that I am pointing fingers at you and not including myself in this. I have been praying about and have been aware of a massive problem I have with my aggressive driving. The thing that convicts me that it is wrong is when I consider that my ‘justification’ for being out front and free of those bottlenecks and other drivers, is that they lack the focus and determination to get to their destinations in a timely fashion.
OUCH! There is some selfish ambition!
Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:10 (CSB)
If you remember the story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told us, you’ll realize that every stranger out on the road, or in our paths during our day, is our neighbor.
Loving our neighbor is the second greatest commandment.
Instead of playing bumper cars we should be applying bandaids. Attempting to heal the damage inflicted on others by their neighbors.
If we are focused on Christ Jesus instead of that list of things we need to get done, we will see that other person struggling to get out on the road and ease back, perhaps breaking a bit to allow them the opportunity to slide out into traffic. Maybe we will take pleasure in another’s accomplishments. Perhaps we can even share the Love and Grace of Jesus with someone else!
Are we into bumper cars or bandaids? Are we promoting healing of lives one kindness after another, or are we adding to the calamity that has become our lives in the ‘Me Frist’ generation?
If we have chosen to follow Jesus, there isn’t any fallback position to take that allows us to continue to yield to our flesh and behave in these ways. The more of Him that we allow shining through us the less the flesh will be able to manifest itself in us, and we become the healers walking in the footsteps of our Lord and Master.