Drive-By Conviction

Fire Trucks at Cook’s Corner. October, 2007.

In Good Faith
“Always assume good faith,” my friend Bruce counseled. My graduate-school colleague seldom offered advice, so when he did, I listened. I had naively stepped in a seething campus controversy. Now that I was stranded in quicksand, I kept glimpsing hostile motives sliding around corners just beyond my vision.

I nearly drowned, sucked under by my own flailing.  But my buddy Bruce tossed me a lifeline: “Unless someone makes it clear they’re out to discredit you, give them the benefit of the doubt. When this ends–and it will end–you’ll be glad.”

His wisdom stayed with me long after the commotion faded. And I thought I embodied those words. Wasn’t I always ready to think the best of everyone?

Well, maybe not.

The other day, a man driving a green Honda sedan cut me off just as I approached the busiest intersection of my morning commute. I glared at his too-close bumper as he shoehorned into the lane ahead of me, then continued on into the far right-hand lane.

This intersection is exactly where it was yesterday, I grumbled as if he could hear me. You probably drive this same route every day. You should know better than to wait until the last minute–

A siren’s wailing silenced my diatribe. I’d failed to notice the ambulance racing up behind, now alongside, overtaking the stream of commuters.

Obedience, not recklessness, had driven Green Honda Man’s lane-changing sweep across my morning. 

Help me to remember, Lord. Keep Green Honda Man vivid in my mind. 

8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Colossians 3:8-10 (NIV)