The first automobile appeared in 1885 when German inventor Karl Benz developed a three-wheel vehicle that was petrol based. Estimates now have about one billion automobiles in the world with the United States registering 260 million vehicles. Highways are clogged with thousands of passenger cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and other vehicles. Automobile life is a norm and getting from one place to another has created a way of life never seen before. Passengers eat, drink, entertain and generally ride in temperature-controlled environments with incredible ease and speed unheard of before modern times. And to our credit, society enjoys a healthy reality of a new kind of car sickness: road rage. It used to be that people became ill because of sitting in the back of a car or reading while the car speeds down the road. The motion did not sit well with many people. Now it is the emotion of what other people do that causes a terrible sickness becoming a major cause of anger, hatred and death. Yes – death.
There was a time not long ago that road rage was never heard of. Yes, there were times when people would get aggravated because the person in front was too slow or they failed to give the proper hand signal when turning (most young people have no idea what hand signals are). The horseless machines were noisy, troublesome and quite the bother but seldom did anyone pull out a gun and shoot someone. As crazy as the 60’s and 70’s were when I was learning to drive, road rage was never heard of. What has happened? Have the cars become toxic with carbon monoxide poisoning the minds of drivers causing them to lose control with other drivers? The answer is found in a text thousands of years before the first automobile became a reality.
A scoffer is someone who disregards law or seeks to inflame others. The attitude of the mind is the motive behind their actions. They are incited to rage. As a result of their actions, cities are burned down. They are out of control. The wise man did not know what it was like to drive a Benz but he understood what the passions of man would do. Wise men know when to turn away from wrath so the city will not be burned down. Controlling the passions of anger avoids the terrible consequence of creating a situation that may not be controlled. Automobiles are not the problem in road rage: people are. Cars do not kill people, enraged people harm others. It is an attitude of the mind.
The sad commentary of our modern dilemma is the impact of how road rage comes from a culture that has taken God out of everything. Why is it so different now? Without God, there is no respect for authority, little sanctity of life, and no respect for others. Driving our two-ton tanks of power embolden us to exercise a privileged right to scream, holler, blow the horn and sometimes get out of the car intent on harming the other person. We live in a world gone crazy with deliria.
Wise men turn away from wrath. One solution to road rage is to put a bumper sticker on the back of the car that reads, “I Am A Christian.” At least when we act out our rage the person will know if we are a Christian or not. More important, we should remind ourselves that our Father travels with us and He brought His Son on the journey. The back seat is occupied by the Holy Spirit and the last thing you want to do is to insult Him. People of God are wise in their actions, their attitudes and the way they drive a car. In our crazy, mixed up world, letting our light shine is not allowing road rage to make fools out of ourselves. Leave the horn alone. Do not step on the brake or accelerate to burn down the other fellow with your wrath. Wise men and wise women turn away from wrath and sometimes this may be that we turn down another road. A final word: May God be praised by our driving.
He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; other people are but holding the reins. (Dhammapada, c. 5th century B. C.)