I paid for my tomato cages at the checkout of the garden center.  After stuffing the wire cages in the back of the car, I turned the key in the ignition and waited to hear the ‘click’ of Aspens seat belt.  Putting the transmission in reverse,  I eased out of my parking space and began the trip out of the maze of parking lots in the strip mall.  I paused at a couple of stop signs and passed various fast food establishments.  Finally, I halted at the stop sign where I would turn left and proceed to the main road home.

Two cars idled at the stop sign across from me.  The first made a right towards the main road.  Anticipating my turn, I moved my foot from the brake to the accelerator.  At the same time I watched the second car begin to turn right.  My foot moved back to the break.  My sweet personality immediately turned sour.  That man had taken my turn!  My foot moved back to the accelerator and  I pulled up behind him blaring my horn.  My thoughts ran along the lines of, “How dare he do that to me?  That was MY turn!”  Running parallel to those thoughts were these thoughts, “That’s just your pride speaking.  It was your turn, but you’re not so important that the world stops and gawks while you take your turn at the stop sign.  It is your pride that is causing you to become angry about it.”

I knew that little voice was right, but I didn’t like it!  Not one bit.  Let’s take a look at this text from the Beatitudes:  “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.  Be happy about it!  Be very glad!  For a great reward awaits you in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:12 NLT)  I’m going to take a broad perspective of this text.  Obviously when the man took my turn at the stop sign, he wasn’t persecuting me, or lying about me because I am a Christian.  But, I think an application can still be made to the circumstances.  Basically when people are rude to me, I should consider it a blessing!  Why?  Because it is an opportunity to practice the attitude of Christ in my life.  An opportunity to be glad that I don’t need to be angry because of someone elses poor choices.  I can be thankful Christ humbly accepted the will of His Father and died for me.  I can be thankful God has the power to change my heart and attitude.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

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