So I’m heading off to my friend’s house tonight to play some pinball… I live on a road where people generally drive pretty quickly. Fairly straight, farms on both sides, minimal police coverage most days…
I’m driving along when someone comes flying up on my rear bumper. Ok, whatever. As we approach the straightaway with a passing zone, they pull out to pass over the double yellow. I already had someone do this to me once this week…
Driving up to Goshen early Monday morning, in the rain, a car comes flying up on me and speeds past me going maybe 80-90mph. It was early, I was tired, and I had little desire to demonstrate how many more torques I had. Tonight though? I’ll show them.
So I downshift and floor it. No way in heck he can pass me…
I see it too late. Town police car, one of those minimally visible Ford Explorers that only says POLICE when headlights hit it. He’s facing away from me. I slam on the brakes. The other car passes me as I pass the police car… who just turned on their lights.
I pull over. Officer is behind me.
I haven’t gotten pulled over in years.
I think that my wallet is in my back pocket, so I take my seat belt off to grab it…
Then I realize “Uhhhhh seatbelt back on, dummy.”
I’ve got my wallet out when the officer approaches. Pretty sure I’m going to get a speeding ticket.
“You know why I stopped you right?”
“Yes officer, I’m sorry, that was stupid of me.”
“You know you only had to wait a few more feet to get to the passing zone, right?”
“Oh, no officer, I’m sorry but he was behind me from when I pulled out of my driveway onto Pulaski… I only accelerated when he tried to pass me back there, then I saw you and hit the brakes. Can I show you the dashcam?”
I’m guessing at the rate my car accelerates and watching from a rear/sideview, it could have easily looked like I passed the other guy.
“You’ve got a dashcam? Ok – if you can show me you were in front of the other car, you won’t get a ticket tonight.”
So I break out my cellphone and connect to the dashcam, taking a moment again to apologize “I’m really sorry officer, that was very juvenile of me, I shouldn’t have done it.” I load up the video from earlier…
“Here’s me leaving my driveway…”
“Here’s me driving down Pulaski and approaching you…”
“Ok, you didn’t pass him, here’s your info – have a good night.”
“Thank you officer, I’m sorry – it won’t happen again.”
As I pulled back onto the road I started thanking God for humbling me there. My pride got the better of me, and discipline came quickly. I immediately admitted my mistake, humbled myself, apologized profusely, and then came the wisdom.
In the end the officer showed mercy by letting me off without a ticket.
When pride comes, then comes shame;
But with the humble is wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2
How many times have I been proud of some material thing, or some possession? A few years ago I was very proud that I had 2 new cars in my driveway, one my old Civic which I needed to get to work, the other a fully loaded pickup that I drove maybe 150 miles a month.
I was so proud I spent a ridiculous amount of money each month to keep them in my driveway… then one day in the middle of a church service a wise little voice whispers to me… “It’s time to sell the truck, Sam.” So I sold it.
That’s just one example, but generally speaking the Lord will reward humility while scorning pride. Tonight I had a prideful moment. I was determined not to let that other driver pass. I was so proud that I didn’t care about the speed limit, the road, or my safety.
I’m lucky I got stopped. Who knows what the other’s driver deal was? Who knows whether they’d have taken it in stride, or if I’d have been triggering some sort of road rage incident? The truth is that I had 2 possible reactions tonight and both would have been prideful.
Speeding up? Prideful. I’ll show them. Had I not sped up, they would have gotten pulled over instead, and I can guarantee you I would have had a very proud and self-righteous reaction to that as well. God knows my nature. He lined up a specific set of circumstances to teach me.
Who is to say that tomorrow or beyond, without this lesson, I wouldn’t have gotten into an accident due to my own selfish pride and arrogance? Who is to say that I won’t now take a moment to pause and think before I downshift and mash the gas pedal?
In Matthew 23:12, Jesus Himself stated “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Personally, I have zero desire to be exalted. I like to keep my head down and embrace the struggle to be humble.
It is good to know I have a loving God up above who will call me out on my sinful pride. Throughout my life any time I have embraced selfish pride, it has never lead to a good outcome. Any time I open that door of reality square into my nose, it is pride.
So that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 1:31.
I had a shiny truck. Big whoop. I have a fast car. Who cares? I have a Great God above me whom I depend on and fear! Hallelujah! I am happy and joyful to boast of Him! I as grateful to Him for my blessings as I am for the discipline He provides!
Lesson learned. Thank you Jesus!