On my way to work last week, I accidentally drove into a lane of the highway that was currently being occupied by another vehicle. Needless to say, they were not happy to share that lane. Not at all. And they let me know of their feelings with a long, aggressive blowing of their horn. This was the first of two moments that heavily influenced the interaction with the other driver.
The blowing of their car horn immediately made me upset. REALLY upset. After all, I wasn’t doing anything on purpose! It was just a little mistake that thankfully hurt no one. I thought to myself “How dare they blow the horn that long at me!” It wasn’t necessary… “SHOW SOME GRACE!” I said out loud as if they could hear me.
Now if I am honest with myself, I wouldn’t have been thrilled with someone drifting into my space of the road either and probably would have reacted the same way.
The driver of the other car seemed like he had more to express. What more could they want to say that their obnoxiously long honk didn’t already? They sped up and matched my speed. I looked over and could tell they were ready for an argument, or the closest thing you can have at 55mph. I wasn’t in the best space emotionally to deal with a road rage incident but as soon as I made eye contact with the other driver I did something that is not like me at all. I put my left hand in the air and mouthed the words “I am so sorry”. This was the second moment that drastically changed everything! The other driver’s face changed instantly. It went from aggressively angry to a lighthearted smirk. Almost to say, “No worries, it happens to us all”.
That moment could have been an anger-filled exchange if I let the frustration in my heart win like I wanted.
It reminded me of a truth that I have known for a long time but have not put into practice as much as I should. That reminder is found in the Bible. Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
I proved that it’s a concept that works wonders on the highway. But I am sure that it is also effective on social media and, or any other place where people are.