"HWJD: How Would Jesus Drive?"
As the familiar saying goes, what would Jesus do (WWJD)? If He were alive today, how do you think He would drive? I'm not sure if I'm just overly observant or if you could call this a pet peeve of mine, but I pay a lot of attention to how other people drive, and more often than not I don't like what I'm seeing. This article will cover two separate issues: speeding and disrespectful driving, the latter of which is the bigger problem in my opinion.
I strongly believe that it is important as a Christian to drive around or below the speed limit. I have three main reasons for this point of view. First, speed limits are given to us from our government, and the Bible makes it very clear that we are to respect authority (Romans 13:1-7), no matter what our opinion is of our government. I believe that when we disobey laws, even when that law is merely a speed limit, we are disobeying God.
Second, I believe that it is vitally important for Christians to set a good example to those around us in everything we do, including when we drive. Although it's not likely anyone around you on the road will know whether or not you're a Christian, I still think we should always strive to set a good example in everything we do and to live apart from the world, not just speeding because everybody around us is.
Third, I think it is important to follow the speed limit in order to have a conscience that is more clear. In the course of our everyday lives, this is probably the law that most of us bend or break most frequently. But if we don't see anything wrong with breaking that law, other temptations will slowly creep in over time and a downward spiral could begin. Some people just drive fast because they feel like they can get away with it, and most of the time they probably do. But do you really want to live your life seeing how much you can get away with? Consider this: Do you hit your breaks if you see a police car around? If so, you're most likely driving too fast. And remember, even if the police aren't watching, God always is.
However, as I stated earlier, I believe there is another problem on the roads today that is much more serious than speeding, but unfortunately it is discussed much less. Let me start with an example. Let's say Bob is driving way too fast on an interstate, going about 80 in a 65, when he comes up on several cars. He is patient, though, and doesn't get on anyone's bumper, waiting a minute or two for the traffic to sort itself out before resuming his fast speed and passing all those cars. Now let's take Larry, who is driving around 55, the speed limit, on a two-lane country road. He comes up on someone going just a little slower, in the low 50-mph range. Instead of showing patience and respect, though, Larry gets right on the rear bumper of that other car and stays there mile after mile. Even though Bob is disobeying the law and Larry is driving within the speed limit, I have much more respect for Bob. Why is that? Allow me to elaborate on what I feel is the biggest problem on the roads today: disrespect.
I find it interesting, though likely not a coincidence, that Paul writes, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" in the very next passage of Romans (Romans 13:8-10). When you drive, do you show that kind of love and respect to your "neighbors" on the road? Hopefully you do. But if you don't, what is your reason for that? In most cases, I think it's just impatience. But what most people who drive like that fail to realize is that it's also very disrespectful and selfish. Sometimes, the person in front of you may have pulled out right in front of you or done something else to upset you. Most of the time, however, that person hasn't done anything wrong. The person is minding his or her own business and has done nothing to deserve such disrespect.
Why is it disrespectful and selfish? It's just rude to treat another person that way; that should be self-explanatory in my opinion. Beyond that, you don't know when it may be an older person (or even someone younger) who gets very nervous with someone right on their bumper. It's selfish because you are not only putting your own life and the lives of your passengers in greater danger, you are also putting the lives of whoever is in that other car in greater danger. You never know when something could happen in front of you, and it's more likely that something will happen if you're too close to the car in front of you to have enough time to react.
Christians should set an example in this world by treating others with lovingkindness. Driving isn't excluded from this idea. If you don't already follow these guidelines, I encourage you to take some time to think about your driving habits. Ask yourself if the way you drive, both the speed at which you drive and the way you treat those around you, pleases God.
Obviously we have no way of knowing exactly how Jesus would have driven since He isn't alive today. But, given what we do know about Him, I think we can make some pretty good guesses. He probably would have driven within the speed limit, since He obeys the law and is sinless. However, I think what would have been more important to Jesus is showing respect to the drivers around Him as He drives. We know from the Bible that Jesus cared more about people than strictly following the laws of the day, such as when He healed on the Sabbath (Matthew 12). I hope the next time you are out on the road that, if you don't already, you will try to treat other drivers more like Jesus would have.