This year’s political race often reminded me of the squabbles of my children. As we would ride to church, they would sit in the back seat and fight over senseless things, hurling personal insults at one another.
This is my side of the car!
You are breathing on my side of the car!
Her breath stinks!
She’s looking at me!
It’s enough to cause brain damage. How does a parent deal with that kind of quarreling?
I would grab the rearview mirror and give them “the Sunday morning look of love.” You know that unmistakable glare warning of the catastrophic consequences if the battle continued.
I would follow that with a lecture peppered with questions that had no rational answer.
“Do you want me to come back there?”
“Do you know what will happen if I stop this car?”
Swatting at them was not an option because all children are born with the innate knowledge of the one spot in the car your arm can never reach. At the first sign of movement, they dive for that spot.
Most of my life I struggled to figure out how to discipline a child while driving. Finally an elderly gentleman pulled me aside and whispered:
“A touch on the brakes brings them right into play!”
Not even that works anymore. Seat belts were not invented to protect the driver. They were invented to keep children out of your reach. It was probably a six year old child that thought of the idea.
Unfortunately, the same kind of quibbling we do as children can follow us into adult life with disastrous results: destroyed relationships, bitter hearts and vengeful spirits, even a divided country.
In Romans 12:17 and 18 the apostle Paul gave this instruction to believers:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
I wish all of us, including me, would start treating each other with more respect. I wish our politicians would heed Paul’s advice… If not, there’s always the brakes.
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