Just the other day my wife and I and a couple of friends were looking for a restaurant in which to indulge our appetite. Because the friends who were with us were not from our state I had driven them to the downtown area to allow them to take in the sights and sounds of our fair city. After they had taken all the pictures so to remember their sightseeing experience we got back into the car to find that restaurant I mentioned earlier.
As we were proceeding to our destination I noticed a car a couple of blocks ahead of me had turned on to the road I was driving on and it was going in my same direction. The driver of this particular car stopped at a red light and of course when I arrived at this intersection I also stopped to wait for the light to change to green.
As we sat waiting for the traffic light to change to green we continued our conversation related to the sightseeing encounters we had experienced during our weekend visit. All of a sudden the traffic light changed to green and the car in front of me didn't move. I thought to myself that perhaps the driver had not noticed the traffic light changing to green so I waited. As I waited the thought occurred to me that perhaps the driver was looking at his cell phone and that was the reason he remained motionless.
I have had experiences where I was the motorist first in line at a red light and because I was not paying attention when the light changed to green someone in the line behind me honked their horn to wake me from my distractions so all of us could proceed through the intersection. After waiting, for what seemed an unusually long time for this motorist to move forward I simply tapped my horn to hopefully draw his attention to the fact that the light was now green. What I received from this driver I was not expecting. While the driver continued to remain motionless he raised both of his hands high enough for me to notice his crude and insulting gesture. In street speech the young man "flipped me off."
My first thought was, "you've got to be kidding!" After this young man's gesture he then proceeded through the intersection and on to where ever he was going. At first it was difficult for me to make sense of this encounter. I was angry and at the same time hurt. I wondered if he had done all of this on purpose. At any rate I began to offer prayers for him and for myself. Then after giving this incident some time to simmer I would like to share this reflection with you.
I've heard it said that the greatest desire Jesus has for us is to set us free. Being set free, it seems, only comes by knowing and understanding the truth. Jesus said he was and is the truth. I thought to myself, "how many people are sitting at spiritual green lights not knowing they are free to move forward?" How many people are imprisoned by their own distractions? They often fail to see the light they already have within themselves. And the most amazing thing that occurred to me came as a result of this young man's reactions. Whether he was aware of the green light or not when I tried to point him to the fact that he had the freedom to move forward all he could do was bring insult.
Loving those who bring insult is one of the hardest things we are called to do. It is easy to love those who love us. The prayer I pray for you and for myself is that I will take my freedom seriously to love those who for whatever reason have not yet awakened to the love and the "green light" they have inside their being. I believe that once they are shown the love of Christ they will be forever changed and forever free!