There are two possible reactions to any situation. One is ugly. The other catches me by surprise, even as I hope it might be the action of choice. Ironically, many choose one as the “right” perspective for every situation. I would like to suggest something different. Both reactions can be applicable in a given situation. Our, mine for sure, natural reaction tends to be on one extreme, however the alternative is often far more effective.
I’ve witnessed extreme road rage in New York. It is easy to sit on the sidelines commenting on how the slight didn’t matter. One thought he or she had room, knew why they were in a hurry, and needed for one reason or another to be first. The other clearly believed they had the right of way; thought courtesy had its limits; and expected others to give them the same space they had given others.
Responding to this crisis is never easy. Nobody will listen to reason! “That's why God flamed out in anger against his people, reached out and knocked them down. The mountains trembled as their dead bodies piled up in the streets. But even after that, he was still angry, his fist still raised, ready to hit them again.” (Isaiah 5.25)
In contrast, I carry the memory of the man lying in the street on a dark, cold, and wet night. A van full of people, a bicyclist, and a person simply walking by were all helping. It was extraordinary! There was little on the surface shared by the players in this vignette. The van with young Oriental people dressed to the hilt. The bicyclist appeared to be a local resident getting take-out food. The passerby could have easily been a tourist. The victim looked like he had hit the pavement before. The one thing everyone shared was and is a compassionate view of those they met sharing life’s journey. Hope filled the air.
It is easier to respond with force but compassion touches everyone more deeply. We carry a choice in every moment. I pray for Hope.
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