For the past sixteen years I have lived on the same quaint street. My youngest daughter was only six months old when we first moved in. Our neighborhood has always been busting at the seams with children and families. Both of my daughters have grown up with a multitude of neighborhood buddies. As you can imagine over the years, we have seen our share of neighbor’s teenager children learning to drive, including my own.
This is scary and sad all at the same time.
When my daughters were learning to drive, one of the things that drove them crazy is when I would walk out onto the drive way and warn all of the kids playing outside that a new driver is backing out. All of them understood the assignment. With great precision they would immediately freeze until said driver made a safe pass. We have also seen our share of mailboxes demolished at the hands of youthful operators. There is no judgement from neighbors at all, we have all been there at some point. All of our children have committed some kind of driving faux paus.
One of the interesting things about my street is that there are six extremely sharp curves on the way to my home. Once you turn off of the main street it seems like it is one sharp curve after the next. At any given time you literally can meet another vehicle almost head-on if you are not paying attention. One fumble of the radio will leave you having someone else fear for their life. It happens to every single one of us who live on this street. We have all been victim to these sharp curves.
Most recently, as I was rounding curve number four, a vehicle was coming in my direction very fast. I didn’t panic because normally the driver will recognize their error and recover. This driver took way more than the allotted “safe time” and was not stopping. I mindfully pulled over, came to a stop, and hoped for the best. Once the inattentive driver noticed me they veered back into their lane and waved with an extremely apologetic wave.
When I first moved to this street, almost two decades ago, I was way more “judgey” of these chance encounters in the sharp curves. I wish I had a dollar each time I met someone and gave them a not so nice glare or rolled my eyes. My house would be paid off with all of those dollars. I had very little patience for the not-so-attentive drivers. As time went on, and after I was found guilty of being neglectful as well, I softened. My patience multiplied almost immediately.
In life we have all ended up in the terrifying sharp curves that consume all of us. Whether it is embarrassing family problems, mortifying things our children have done, mistakes made in our careers or even financial woes. For some people, their sharp curve may be addiction. Someone else’s sharp curve may be from something that is no fault of their own. Sharp curves befall all of us.
No one leaves this beautiful life without some type of scar from the sharp curve that life sent their way. It is really easy to sit and judge when others are dealing their sharp curves. Unlike the sharp curves found on my street, life has a way of sending those sharp curves when you are least expecting it.
As followers of Christ, we are to show love, grace, patience and kindness through all of life’s curves. Not to sit in judgement. We are to help pick up our brothers and sisters when they fall. Unfortunately, judging others and their sin is a common theme among some of the very perfect Christians that walk among us. The grace we extend to others may be indeed needed by us one day. As for me and my house, I remind my daughters way too often, we are not perfect. We are forgiven often. Also, whatever we judge and ridicule usually finds it way back to us in some form or fashion.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37