Turning Off The High Beams

The other night, I was driving on a dark road in the Hill Country, and I had to use my high beams to see the turns in the road.  The problem was I had to keep turning them off because so many cars were coming in the other direction. 

There was a moment when I forgot to turn them off when I encountered an oncoming car on a relatively sharp turn.  When it struck me that I had essentially blinded the person, I felt so bad about it that I wished I could have turned around to follow them to apologize. 

Then I decided that might be a good way to get shot.  

We've all had someone do that to us, though.  We've been on the receiving end of some ignoramus who just left his high beams on as we passed them.  

Sometimes, we've responded by flashing our own high beams in a passive-aggressive way to show our displeasure. 

And there have been plenty of times when we've been the one who forgot, and blinded the heck out of some other driver, who may have angrily flashed his high beams at us, or worse... he didn't. 

When I've made the mistake of blinding the heck out of some other driver, I can make myself feel better if they respond angrily, in a passive aggressive way.  I can say that they somehow deserved it, 

But when they don't respond, when they just drive on without reacting angrily, or at all, I feel terrible.  I imagine the person nearly swerving off the road, and then forgiving me from afar as we move in opposite directions.  

I've had people outside of the church tell me that one of the many reasons why they steer clear of church is because of the negative reactions they have received from Christians when they shared beliefs that didn't align neatly with Christianity.  

Or they witnessed someone who claimed to be a Christian do some pretty awful things in the name of their religion, which is the most often cited reason, to be fair. 

Can those of us who claim to be Christian live our lives in such a way where people are actually drawn to us, and then perhaps to Christ?  

Author Bob Goff puts it like this: 

We can be the light of the world without leaving our high beams on and annoying everybody.  Actually, how about we give love away like a mighty river, then we can be a floodlight. 

Rather than being people who drive around blithely and uncaringly with their high beams on, we can be the person who is respectful of others, tuned in to how we might affect or offend.  

We can also be the people who don't react out of anger when someone's beliefs are different from our own.  They might even say something provocative about Christianity, or declare something downright antagonistic, but we don't respond in kind. 

Instead, we thoughtfully and mindfully keep our own high beams turned off, and in so doing, we can endear ourselves to the person with whom we disagree.  The disagreement might still be on the table, but no one is picking anything up to bludgeon the other. 

Imagine if, as Christians, we took Bob Goff's suggestion and gave love away like a mighty river, and then turned our floodlights, so people can see the Divine more clearly in us.  

I would encourage you to adopt this strategy going forward.  Find ways to be a floodlight, not an annoying high beam.  Give away love, not reactions.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all, now and forever. Amen.  


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