One night, Bobby’s wife sent him to buy a gallon of milk. He went to the local variety store, took the milk from the cooler and waited in line. The customer in front of him being served by the cashier was slow. Bobby was frustrated but waited his turn without complaint. As he was being served and was almost done, the customer behind him said, “Come on, Buddy, hurry up!” It wasn’t said in a nasty way, but it set Bobby off. He turned around and said, somewhat belligerently, “I’m moving! I’m done!” The other man asked aggressively, “What are you going to do about it?” Bobby responded, “What are you going to do about it?”
Bobby left with his milk and was about to get into his car when the man approached him and angrily said, “You’re not so tough now are you? Next time, I’ll kick the sh*t out of you and put you in the f*cking hospital!” As he waked away, Bobby got into his car. His temper flared. He aggressively drove out of the parking lot and hunted for the man. He found him walking near the curb along a quiet street. Bobby rolled down his window, pounded on his horn and yelled, “C*cksucker!” He swerved his car, aiming the two-ton machine at the man, and stepped hard on the accelerator…
This is a true story and just one of the hundreds of road rage incidents that happen every year, often resulting in arrests, bodily harm and even deaths. Both Bobby and the other man would otherwise be considered sane, law-abiding citizens, who held down jobs, paid their taxes and generally stayed out of trouble. Neither of them was looking for trouble that night. Who was right? Neither one. What started as a mild offence (but probably wasn’t meant as one), quickly escalated into a dangerous episode. What fuels these kinds of escalations? Pride, ego, emotional pain and, often, feelings of inferiority.
Things weren’t going well for Bobby before the incident. He was having trouble at work. His wife constantly hen-pecked him. He was somewhat depressed and didn’t feel too good about himself. The other man, most likely, had similar issues. Neither could let the incident go before feeling as though he had won. Because of our sinful, prideful natures, many human conflicts are like that, although, of course, they generally aren’t as intense.
Fortunately, Bobby’s incident did not end tragically. He swerved his car just before he hit the man. He drove home, turned on the television, nervously sat on the couch, and hoped that no witnesses had seen the episode and that the man hadn’t gotten his licence number and phoned the police.
That night, Bobby had trouble sleeping. He felt ashamed of the way he had acted, but he understood why he had done so. He thanked God that no one got physically hurt. He asked God to forgive him and grant him the virtues of humility, meekness and compassion. He also prayed for the man he had fought with. He resolved that, in the future, he would stand up for himself in a less belligerent way and not allow things escalate. Most importantly, he realized that the man in the store wasn’t his greatest enemy. His greatest enemy was himself, especially his pride. With God’s help, he hoped to improve.