Friday, January 6, 2012


You’ve probably heard the opinion stated that Californians are rude.  They’re unfriendly, always in a hurry, and they are rude drivers.  When driving they cut you off, flip you off, and overall turn you off.  Yeah I’ve heard it too, and from people who’ve never stepped a foot in California sometimes.  To be honest when we moved here I did have to adjust to the somewhat aggressive behavior of California drivers, especially since I was coming from Oklahoma, but to be fair I learned how to drive like that in Denver, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a California only thing.

Today as I was driving back to the Church from dropping Cade off at school, there was a vehicle trying to merge onto the freeway.  He was right next to me and had to either speed up or slow down and of course he sped up.  The problem was he was running out of room and didn’t have time to speed up enough to get in front of me.  Now I can be a bit aggressive myself at times, and the temptation was to just stay where I was and make him slow down to get behind me.  In fact I started to do just that and then caught myself.  I waved him over and slowed down to let him in.

What happened next was a bit surprising if you hold to the pre-conceived notion that California drivers are rude.  His back windows were fogged over, so I couldn’t see him, so he makes the effort to roll down his window, sticks his hand up as high as he can (I checked for a gun, just joking) and waved very vigorously to thank me for my decent behavior.

Here’s the point, if I had allowed my thought that this guy is being a jerk and trying to cut me off (because after all, isn’t that what California drivers do?) to overrule my thought of extending mercy because that’s the nice thing to do, I would have gone home thinking that the guy was rude, never knowing that I missed out on someone who was polite enough to make sure I knew he was thankful.

Pre-conceived notions and assumptions are common place and unfortunately they happen not only on highways, and in work environments, they also happen in our homes and in our churches.  They are often the reason why we argue and fight with our spouses, rush to false conclusions with our children, and judge people through self-righteous condemning eyes.  What would happen in your life this year if you stopped living your life based on pre-conceived notions and assumptions, and allowed mercy and grace to be the driving factors in your life?  Would you invite more people to the worship service, would you send out more positive emails on a regular basis, would you criticize less and uplift more, would you treat your family better, would you give others the benefit of the doubt more often, would you feed more homeless people, or even go on a mission trip?

I only know one thing that everyone of us has in common, besideds being alive, and that is we are all sinners in need of a Savior.  I gave my life to Jesus 25 years ago, but sometimes I fail to extend that love to others, and I will tell you that often it’s because I choose to look at people through my tainted eyes of experience, hurt, mistrust, judgment, etc., and often it is because of pre-conceived notions and assumptions.  It’s a new year so let us all resolve to look at everyone through the loving eyes of Jesus, shall we?  And stop bagging on California drivers - lol
In Christ,