“There is a way which seems right unto a man, but in the end lies death.” ~ Proverbs 16:25
I’m sure every man has taken a path he thought was the right one, only to end up somewhere he never anticipated. I know I have more than once. It always seems to be during times when my emotional level is extreme I will inevitably make the wrong decision. At almost fifty-three years old, you would think I would have figured this out by now and made some corrections to disregard the choices which lead me towards the wrong pathway. But I’m nothing if not consistent I guess and am still learning.
Have you ever done this though? Been faced with a situation which emotionally threw you off of your game and instead of taking time to step back from the situation and evaluate it from every angle, you just leapt in where angels fear to tread?
Why is this do you think? Could it be because emotional upheavals in our lives feel as if they are personal attacks on us and therefore we respond without thinking? Or perhaps they are just something which is interfering with what we perceive as our normal routine and we don’t want it upset? Whatever the case, I think it would be good for us (well me actually) to look into this a little closer.
The world we live in is crazy. Have you noticed how quickly people seem to fly off the handle and confront anyone they think is hindering their life in some way? Think about road rage, or accidently cutting in front of someone at the grocery store. It seems to me people are itching for a fight nowadays more than ever.
I remember a time back after the terrorist attacks of 9/11; I had gone home to eat lunch and on the way back to work had decided to drive my wife’s minivan and fill it up with gas. I noticed the line of cars waiting as I pulled up to the gas station; everyone was panicky and the word on the street was all the gas stations would run out of gas soon. As I circled the lot looking for the best line to get in, I noticed a pump had just opened up and maneuvered my vehicle into position to fill up.
As I placed the nozzle into the tank opening, a lady walked up to me and began yelling at me about how I had cut her off and stolen her pump. She screamed about how I had almost killed her kids and should be ashamed of myself. Shocked, because I had actually not seen her at all, I removed the nozzle, apologizing and told her by all means take the pump. She insisted I stay put, but I wouldn’t have it and said, “Mam, I’m very sorry about taking your pump, I didn’t even see you. Have a nice day.” Getting back into my car, I began circling the lot once more.
Telling my wife the story later, it was almost comical to me. It must have made her feel better yelling at me and maybe she was just scared, but all I could think about was how it wasn’t a big deal for me to move to back of the line and let her get her gas. It sure wasn’t as big a deal as she was making it out to be. I think many people feel like they are going to be taken advantage of and instead of letting this happen they attack first before realizing what is actually going on.
What we (I) need to do is to really take a look at these situations from the other person’s perspective first and then make our next decision based on that information. I think it would really save all of us a lot of grief in the long run. I mean after all, are the things we fight about really as important as we think they are at that immediate moment? Probably not. And isn’t it better not to have to apologize for being an idiot?