Searching for Peace
Whoever desires to love life and see good days . . . let him seek peace and pursue it.
~ 1 Peter 3:10-11
A faithful Christian is an imperfect success in this life; Paul himself says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) Even worse, most people cannot even read what the Bible says; there are parts they do not want to hear, and they ignore them and interpret them until their Bible is something they have written, rather than something they have read.
But the Bible does change people. For sometimes people do what the Bible tells them to do, rather than what their nature urges them to do; and we see the wonderful effect that Christian faith has during our lives, and the lives of countless millions. I don't often give personal testimony, but I had occasion last week while visiting a city in Florida, so here is my little testimony.
I was parked in the parking lot of a suburban Walmart on a hot day, trying to find directions on my cell phone to another store. It was scorching hot and I had the driver-side door open a foot or two; but I was careful that the door did not go past the inside of the yellow line of my parking space. I heard some honking and then someone parked in the space next to me.
About 30 seconds later, I heard a young male voice yelling. “Hey!” “Hey, a--hole!” I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a man in his 20s behind my car facing me. “Hey, sittin' there with your door open, you know people want to park? Shut your G-----n door so people can park. F-----g moron!” He was screaming pretty loud, too.
I am, by nature, one of those road-rage people. I have a temper and I got into fistfights in high school. I'm the guy who — before I found Christ — would get out of his car stopped at a red light to confront someone in another car. And I really, really wanted to explain to this guy that every part of my car was inside the lines of my parking space, and then perhaps address the subject of his driving and parking skills.
I closed the door and drove away. You know how you rehearse over and over in your mind everything you might have said? I started to do that — BUT — I stopped doing it, and started praying, instead. I prayed that the guy would have a better day and get over his anger. I found love for him in my heart. I started to rehearse, not telling him off, but apologizing to him and asking him to forgive me.
Maybe if I had told him, “I'm sorry,” even though I thought I was in the right, he would have found a bit of peace in his day. Maybe he would have found the world a little nicer and brighter and kinder. Or, maybe he was nuts and would have punched me in the nose.
I know Christ smiled because I didn't argue and found love for him in my heart, and lost my own anger and upset so quickly. But I could have helped out a fellow man, also. So, an imperfect success. Christ told us, “love your enemies,” and I managed to take one baby step in the right direction. And next time something like this happens, I will be ready to turn the other cheek and spread some of Christ's love into the world.
Lord God, help me to love even those who do me wrong and follow the example of Christ in all I do. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer