How do you handle anger?
I drive a little manual 2005 Scion xB that just eclipsed 195,000 miles. I love that little car. It’s fuel-efficient and requires minimal maintenance. And it’s close to the least powerful car on the road. I’m pretty sure on its specs next to 0-60mph it says, “Eventually!”
Unless I’m lined up against someone from a nearby retirement community (sorry, some stereotypes are true), I’m going to be the last car to reach the speed limit coming off a stoplight.
Unsurprisingly, more aggressive drivers with more powerful vehicles tend to treat my little Scion like a safety cone in the road, they treat me more like an obstacle than a fellow traveler. They zip past me and cut me off as they speed to their destination. More than I would care to admit, my sense of justice and frustration with unsafe drivers slides into sinful anger. There have been more than a few times I have been tempted to cut off a driver in retaliation.
But I don’t.
Sometimes that is because I am pricked with quick repentance and shift a posture of mercy.
Sometimes that is because I drive a Scion xB.
Temptation and Power
Even if I wanted to retaliate, I don’t have the means to retaliate. My little four-cylinder can’t chase down those high-powered vehicles.
I’m so grateful for my under-powered Scion. It has protected me from my own sin on more than a few occasions.
It is the same in life. When I was young I longed for a bigger platform and more opportunities. Called to vocational ministry when I was ten years old, I didn’t become a pastor until I was 27 and I didn’t become a lead pastor until this year, right after I turned 40. It was easy to be jealous of those who had opportunities, to think about what it would be like to be a church planter, or a lead pastor, or receive speaking engagements at conferences and seminars.
It’s been startling over the past few years to see several pastors that I had (sinfully) envied in the past for their platforms have their ministries unravel as issues have imploded their personal lives and churches.
The Grace of Four-Cylinder Power
When my personal life imploded six and a half years ago, I was an associate pastor at the time and the ripples of the fallout felt massive. The impact of my sin and my wife’s sin was overwhelming. I don’t doubt that there are those it has still negatively impacted. And while we’ve tried to faithfully walk out a reconciliation and restoration process, we recognize that we can’t undo the damage we caused.
I sometimes think of what would have happened if I would have gotten the platform I wanted. My heart sinks to think of how many more would have been hurt by me. I’m so grateful for the Scion xB sized platform he’s granted me. Four cylinders of power aren’t always such a bad thing.
Whatever power I’ve been given, I pray that I humbly steward it, recognizing it’s more than I deserve and more than I can handle on my own. God is gracious when he gives us an xB’s worth of power and gracious when he gives us Ferrari’s worth of power. And whatever he offers us, may it make us trust him and his transforming power within us.
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