Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
- Romans 1:28-32
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
- Romans 3:22-26
I know, I know. Another bad driver story?
I had a typical bad driver story from today, but four days ago, it was far worse than a bad driver.
Today, I was at a gap between two traffic lights and if I did not enter the highway when I did, I would have been waiting a long time, clear from one side, but not the other as the lights synchronized perfectly wrong. There was a gap in traffic and the traffic was flowing close to the speed limit. But in typical local traffic fashion, the driver that I pulled in front of, with plenty of space, sped up. His mind turned to the typical thinking – rotten. He had enough time to think that if he sped up and T-boned me, hitting me on my wife’s side of the SUV, then it would be my fault for entering the highway without allowing proper distance, but since I was in front of him with 6-7 car lengths to spare in an area where the speed limit was 25mph, which would make it twice the proper following distance, he missed his chance. In his rage that he could not cause a wreck and claim me at fault, he kept speeding up. But he realized with a few seconds to spare that if he hit me now, it would be his fault and he slammed on the brakes. No harm done. That type of thing is typical, road rage and stupidity, a daily thing.
But four days ago, I attributed the incident to unadulterated stupidity until I thought about it for a few days.
I approached an intersection with a four-way stop. I was going to turn right, go underneath a railroad underpass and then drive four miles to our home. As I approached the intersection, there was a truck that had been highly modified at the stop sign to my left – going straight, the same direction I intended to go. On his truck, all the windows were tinted, including the windshield. It is illegal to tint the front side windows and the windshield in our state. He continued to sit there. If he was waving me on, I never saw the signal with the windows tinted. So he finally went through the intersection, very slowly, apparently now angry at me. I followed him toward the railroad underpass. I checked to see that no one was coming the other way – a one-lane underpass. The modified truck was burning oil with thick black smoke coming from the tailpipe. I decided to let him go through the underpass by himself so that our SUV did not get any more dirty than usual (left over salt from the last snowstorm – you wash it and it is dirty again by the time you get home).
He entered the underpass and then stopped halfway through, revving his engine and filling the entire underpass full of thick black smoke so that no one could see in either direction, not even a few feet of visibility – you could not see you own front end of your vehicle. Since it was one-lane, there could be a car coming from the opposite direction and there would be a head-on collision, possibly deadly. But I had checked already. There was no one coming, if I did not hesitate. I heard the sound of his vehicle, the Doppler effect, as he left the underpass and started climbing the hill. I drove through at a moderate speed, a straight line down the middle. In doing so, the rush of air around my vehicle drew clean air into the underpass and the air started to clear, at least enough for the other drivers to see, dim, but they could see.
I attributed it to stupidity, but then it dawned on me what else was happening.
The white pickup that was behind the modified truck, as they entered the intersection, tailgated me all the way home. The modified truck drove 10-15mph below the speed limit down a road for four miles, with no place to pass. It was the same situation where they had come from. The modified truck wanted to pull his little trick on the white pickup, not me. He wanted to time it so that there was a car coming the other way. He was angry over the tailgating, and he wanted to “solve” the problem.
People in our area typically drive up to 30mph above the speed limit, in some cases, as in this case, twice the speed limit. Unless I considered the feelings of my fellow man, I could tailgate behind a guy going that slow, but I rarely go more than five miles per hour over the limit. I did not tailgate in this case to avoid the sooty residue getting on our SUV and because the driver of the modified truck had proven to be an angry person who was not using his brain – at all, or was he?
Did he do what he did on purpose? With a deadly crash inside that underpass, it would shutdown traffic on a main road for our area. And by the time the accident occurred, he would be long gone. And from what I remember, he had a tinted cover over his license plate so that you could not read the numbers and letters. The perfect crime.
Is road rage due to someone tailgating, which happens all the time, equal to murder? The smoke would have cleared, and they would have called it an accident with no apparent cause once the police arrived, unless someone survived.
There are those who take the John Calvin concept of “Total Depravity of Man” and disagree. They argue that we are “really nice down deep inside.”
Nope. We are totally depraved down deep inside, unless we have Jesus in our hearts.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.