It happened yesterday. It was just another normal day of getting my two oldest boys off to school, and getting there on time. For me being on time is important, it’s a pet peeve of mine to be late for anything…yet somehow the rest of my family seems to think we can show up whenever we get there, which is not cool for school!
After about five minutes of looking for one of my son’s shoes, which must have been a part of Harry Houdini’s magic act, because I have found his shoes in the oddest places including outside and behind the toilet (I am not kidding). Finally we get into the minivan, I’m a little flustered, we’re a few minutes late now and the van is stone cold because we spent so much time looking for shoes that I neglected to start the van early enough to get it warmed up. I guess you could say it was my time to chill…literally. We get our seat belts buckled, and off we go to school. I take a few deep breaths to exhale the stress from my lungs and turn on the radio. It’s still set to my mp3 player, and so praise music begins to play in the van. I am finally finding my groove with now tepid coffee in hand, and soothing worship music playing in the background. At this point I am starting to feel the music, and I begin to sing along…oh don’t judge me, I bet you sing in the van too.
As I’m singing along to a song called “Love came down” I glance in my rearview mirror and notice a car is aggressively riding my rear bumper. I’m doing the speed limit…I’m not a slow driver. I’m still trying to sing this great worship song but I’m being distracted by the driver in the car behind me. It’s starting to stress me out again. Finally we come to one of those round-abouts that the city recently put in, and I expect him to slow down…instead he speeds up, and swerves into the next lane, then he darts ahead of me and proceeds to cut me off as he turns into my lane ahead of me… “Love came down” is still playing in the background…although I’m not feeling like I want to place any love down on this guy who I feel has just wronged me. In fact, I feel like speeding up, honking my horn, and if possible pass him up just like he did to me.
“Love came down to rescue me, love came down to set me free…”
Then these words hit me in the face, as I’m flustered, angry, and I’ve yelled at the guy as he cut me off…somehow I don’t feel so “set free” at the moment…I’m bound by this anger inside of me at this act that I understand to be injustice and inconsideration by some idiot in a car.
At the same moment that the lyrics of this song that I had just been singing hit me, I look over at my boys. It’s a double slap in the face. What am I teaching my children in this instance? Am I teaching them that you can sing about being set free by the love of God and at the same time curse man because of their ignorance and failure to yield to the rules of the road?
“Love came down to rescue me, love came down and set me free…and I am Yours, I’m forever Yours.” At that moment I didn’t feel like HIS…I felt guilty of being MINE. I felt guilty of being selfish and I was teaching my children how to be angry and selfish too. Was this the kind of legacy I was leaving for my kids? Did I want my boys to be angry at drivers, angry at the world and stressed out over something so temporary and silly? Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” I know this to be absolutely true…because in that moment of road rage, I lost my happiness and I lost a little bit of integrity that I had with my kids in that van.
I was convicted while singing a praise song, and instead of displaying that love that came down for me, I was displaying the wrath of my sinful state…my old self.
Okay, confession time is over. They say it’s good for the soul, but you know what’s better for the soul? Avoiding those trappings that lead us to confession in the first place. It’s much, much harder to do, but in the long run we would all be better off. This is a truth that I’ve learned, road rage and worship music make for very awkward road companions, let alone improper parental examples of godly living.
I guess what I’m trying to say is summed up in Ephesians 4:29; “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I was singing one tune and letting sin lead me astray back into my old sinful ways…and my kids were in the van. I wasn’t building anyone up in that moment; I was letting my tongue destroy.
We can’t possibly do both at the same time as children of God. We either let love come down and be a part of who we are igniting others with this joy, love and hope; or we let sin in and we treat others through selfish intentions and shameful acts. Perhaps you’ve also been there a time or two…it’s a slap in the face, conviction follows and we need to confess and modify that behavior if we are to truly live as children of God bringing that love and freedom into this world.
Take it from a guy who sang a song of praise while my actions were singing a song of wrath…it’s time to change.
-Just a thought.