Cutting in line- Religion Column

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins

It is an odd thing, this being a driver on the roads of this country. As we are a culture, now well past a century of experience, the ethos of our devotion is most apparent. Certainly, there is a certain cult of customs, which has developed around our behaviors and attitudes.

In the early days of the 1900’s, there were few transport rules; few guidelines. It was only after the rapidly rising levels of carnage, were laws and regulations implemented to stem the tide. Aging photographs reveal the horrific results of  the shards of glass, and ridged steering columns; coupled with non-existent bumpers and passenger restraints.

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Even today, we wrestle with the subject. It is borne between a balance of safety and cost. Each is measured against the effect of the design and a value weighted. Of course, it asks us all, “What is the value of a human life?”

Over the years, there is one significant variable that has not been well regulated and, it is arguable, has only been slightly improved. This variable is us, and we have only improved, vaguely, through the implementation of ever-burgeoning laws, improved safety designs, and driver training. However, left on our own, we have this pesky habit of ignoring this and more.. Perhaps we go bit faster than the speed limit, or don’t use our turn signals as we should, or text, or….

Such are our behaviors. Couple our anxieties and over-confidence in our ability to operate a mobile missile, stir in a bit of perceived urgency, and add a chaser of justification, these all provide the elixir of potential ruin. Often, the way we drive is a reflection of ourselves and how we relate to those around us; to our fellow equally challenged creatures.

Often the bane of the motoring public, is the omnipresent narcissist who insists the rules are meant for the less deserving. Consider the opportunist who, notices the reduction in upcoming lanes, and  races to the front of the “pack” to force themselves upon those who have already merged.

Creating ire and delay for others, the offender relies upon their aggression and general approach to life to get their way. It may be just their ego, or something more sinister. While it may only a small few who behave in such a manner, we know they are among us. Often, in our displeasure, we will respond by not letting that “jerk,” in and creating a further delay.

There is an inherent distaste for anyone, by most everyone. who cuts into a line, or jumps ahead of us. After all, we have waited patiently and expect others to do the same. However, the same may be said about our attitudes towards the Christian Faith. There are times when we may tell ourselves it is our turn to get ahead in the line of life, and take a shortcut. “Well,” we exclaim, “I have paid my dues and it is time to get ahead. I have regularly given to others, and now it is my turn!”

Jesus Christ tesA us to do otherwise. It is not a request, it is not a guideline, but the truth of God’s plan for us. When we insist that we are above others, in thought, word, or deed, we are claiming a superiority and jumping ahead of the line. We are cutting in, by placing ourselves above others.

It is not His plan for us, nor what He requires of us.

Jesus said, “Not every man that says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.’”A rather explicit point to remember, these “Rules of the Road,” with Christ.

They are simply to humbly love God and others as ourselves.

Be kind, be gentle, be forgiving and understanding…this is what is required of each of us.