The evil are ensnared by the transgression of their lips,
but the righteous escape from trouble. –Proverbs 12:13
Would you like to hear something silly?
When I’m walking across a parking lot, I’ll find myself annoyed at the drivers. They don’t watch where they’re going. They pull out too far into the intersection. They roll through stop signs and don’t yield the right of way. In my mind I’m saying HEY BOZO, WATCH OUT!
And then, I get in my car, and switch sides. Now, I’m a driver, and I find myself annoyed at the pedestrians. They think they can just walk anywhere they want. They talk on their cellphones and don’t pay attention. They’re moving too slowly. Again, I think, HEY BOZO, WATCH OUT!
I have this terrible fear that someday I won’t be paying any attention, and I’ll run into myself.
I’m a complainer. Not a championship complainer, I don’t think, but I’ve been known to mutter, to sigh, and to eye roll. As I think about my traffic dilemma, above, I realize that I’ve become an equal opportunity complainer. I apparently don’t care what side I’m on. I just want to….”Mitch” about it, if you know what I mean.
If you’re like me, it’s just kind of a bad habit. A go-to state of mind we might not even be fully aware of. And I understand that. Life is filled with minor discomforts, sidetracks, and conflicts. It’s hard not to have a constant track of irritation running through your head. But God clearly wants more for us than that.
In the book of Proverbs, we are presented with all kinds of wise statements–little selections of words to live by. The passage above is one of a bunch cautioning us to use our words wisely, and to keep tabs on our anger.
So how do we do that? Here are a couple suggestions:
Look Both Ways When we blunder through life, we’re more likely to crash into somebody else. Take time to live deliberately and carefully.
Yield Instead of pretending we have all the answers, we can yield to God, and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Relay, Not A Race Life is not meant to be a competition or a race. Think of it as a relay, instead. Love gets passed from one to another.
The next time I find myself in traffic — on foot or in my car — I’m gonna be paying attention to the words in my head. HEY BOZO, WATCH OUT! may not seem that harmful, but the truth is I’m the one acting like a clown. If I try instead to live “righteously”, as the writer of this proverb suggests, I’m more likely to enjoy my journey.
And if that doesn’t work…
I’ll take the bus.
Have a great week,
originally posted in 2011