I was on the freeway, the traffic was light, and I was coasting along around 70 mph. There was no reason to slow down, for the freeway was like my future: wide open. However, I eventually approached a car in front of me that, for some inexplicable reason, was driving MAYBE 55 mph. Grumbling, sighing and rolling my eyes, I tried bearing with this for a little bit. After about 5 seconds, I couldn’t take it anymore, wondered what the #)($*# was wrong with this car, decided to see who it was and then give them a piece of my mind by switching lanes and cutting them off. Well, as I switched lanes and sped up to cut that car off, I noticed something: this driver herself had been driving behind the TRUE slow driver the whole time.
The lesson that I took from this was to always maintain as wide a perspective as possible. I believe there is ALMOST ALWAYS context to be considered in any situation. And even if I encounter a situation that’s the exception, I will still probably err on the side of caution. Practically speaking, I think this means a number of things:
- Never assume. As the saying goes, “when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME”.
- Avoiding assumptions means remembering that there is almost always two sides to every story. It’s only a “true story” until the other side shares their POV.
- Give people the benefit of doubt. Rather than calling that one girl at work the euphemism for a female dog, consider that maybe she’s been dealing with a long-term private issue that’s been a constant thorn at her side or maybe, she just had a bad day.
- Look for evidences of grace in those around you. What does this mean? CJ Mahaney says the following (and for what it’s worth, I believe you can spot evidences of common grace in even those who are not of the Christian faith):
Most people are more aware of the absence of God than the presence of God. Most people are more aware of the presence of sin than evidences of grace. […] So, informed by Paul’s leadership I want to interact with everybody by identifying an evidence of grace, because if they are Christian I know God is at work in their lives. What a joy it is to discern where and how God is at work, draw people’s attention to it, and celebrate God’s grace in their lives! The fact that we get to do this—how cool is this?
Above all, the greatest reason why we should maintain perspective is the Cross. There was no extenuating circumstance in our sinfulness. We all sin. We’re all screwed up. There is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10), For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus died and paid for said sins. Furthermore, He didn’t die after we proved ourselves as somehow being worthy to die for. He died for us and our sins when we were diametrically, objectively, no-doubt-about-it, guaran-damn-teed OPPOSED to Him. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8) This is amazing grace. This is also an amazing victory, because He didn’t simply remain dead – He resurrected and CONQUERED death and sin – God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it (Acts 2:24).
Perspective: It does a body good.