Have you ever thought about how your car can be tool for God to use to show His grace and mercy? What would my driving look like if I realized Jesus was sitting beside me every time I get in my vehicle? Or do we consider our autos as instruments of God’s justice and hatred of incompetence? (Hmm, does He hate incompetence?) Do not think I am pointing a finger at anyone. The old adage about “three fingers pointing back at yourself” is truer here than I wish.
Priding myself on my driving skills, I used to consider myself a good driver. In recent years, however, I have come to realize that being a “skillful driver” is not the same thing as being a “good driver.” This brings me to the subject of this week’s blog; how fallen, flawed and self-justifying I can be. I have asked friends and counselors for prayer and advice on how to deal with this failing, but it seems to be part of the sin nature, that it is constantly hiding and finding new ways to entrap us. Lewis said we are either repenting of sin, bragging to ourselves about our repentance, considering how we can indulge in sin again, or sinning . . . and three of these steps are sin.
“No sooner do we believe that God loves us than there is an impulse to believe that He does so, not because He is Love, but because we are intrinsically lovable. The Pagans obeyed this impulse unabashed; a good man was “dear to the gods” because he was good. We, being better taught, resort to subterfuge. Far be it from us to think that we have virtues for which God could love us. But then, how magnificently we have repented! As Bunyan says, describing his first and illusory conversion, “I thought there was no man in England that pleased God better than I.” Beaten out of this, we next offer our own humility to God’s admiration. Surely He’ll like that? Or if not that, our clear-sighted and humble recognition that we still lack humility. Thus, depth beneath depth and subtlety within subtlety, there remains some lingering idea of our own, our very own attractiveness. It is easy to acknowledge, but almost impossible to realize for long, that we are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us. Surely we must have a little–however little–native luminosity?” – C.S.Lewis, The Four Loves. I am afraid we do not, if my history of driving provides any warning.
Lexington, Kentucky, may have the worst drivers in America (except for perhaps Nashville, Tennessee; those “Volunteers” have the same bad habits as Kentuckians, but commit them at much higher speeds). Many of our drivers do not know what turn signals are for, and I suspect, it they accidentally turn one on, wonder what that funny clicking noise is as they drive along for miles. Following the car in front, they tailgate with less than a car length between them at 70 mph (113 kph), yet leave three car lengths between when the red light changes to green, insuring the last cars in line will not get through the light at the same time. They will stop with inches between cars at red traffic lights, and then, even if car in front of them is not moving, they insist on creeping forward to get closer to the intersection, only to wait for the light to change, then wait for the “required” three car lengths if they are near the front of the line. They will stop in the middle of the road, waiting for an opportunity to change lanes, with five lanes of traffic to cross, rather than spend an extra 90 seconds to turn right and come back to the left safely through an intersection. When you do see the rare blinker indicating a driver would like to change lanes, the apparent rule for Kentuckians is to close the gap and try to prevent the car from entering “my lane.” Speed limits appear to be minimums, and if you dare to go slower, expect to be goaded off the road by tailgaters. Parking occurs where ever anyone chooses to stop his car, whether it blocks a driveway or pass-through, and most do not know that “jay-parking” is against the law in most cities of Kentucky, even police. They will remain parked with doors open on both sides, maximizing their obstruction of others passing.
The whole philosophy of Kentucky drivers seems to be, “My time matters more than any one else’s on the road; I should not be deterred in my preferred speed; my preferences for parking or moving my vehicle are more important than yours; only the pesky police can interfere with my driving.” In other words, it is a prime area of life for the devil to tempt one to anger.
Anger is one of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” the seven of which the next few blogs will address. When driving in Kentucky, it is easy to see how this becomes a “deadly sin!” If you look at any of our junk yards, you will see the crumpled results of someone’s anger at someone else, from the wreckage left by miscalculating who would give in to the lane change, the parking decision, or the traffic light. Try as they will, as the engineers design our cars for greater and greater safety, all that happens is they inspire greater risk-taking by angry drivers who will not be deterred. Now all we need is a “self-driving” car of which a hacker can take control, and let the “fun” begin!
So the next seven blogs, starting with October 11, 2015 , will detail each one of the Seven Deadly Sins and each one’s corollary, the Seven Saving Virtues, although it is important to note that virtue is not what saves us. So having written this blog, and your having read it, we can now congratulate ourselves on how virtuous we are . . . or can we? 😉