When I received the daily scripture text that my friend sends me every morning I had a strange feeling that today I would be able to put it into practice. I pictured how it would go down. And I fought it.
"Oh no, Lord! Please! I don't need to deal with this today!"
The verse was that one in Proverbs that says, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up strife."
Claiming that for my verse of the day goes along with asking God to teach me patience or humility. I put all of those into the "Not the brightest idea" category, and I thought my efforts of persuasion had paid off when the morning passed smoothly without a single angry person for me to softly diffuse with my awesome wisdom from Proverbs.
I've found that working from eight til five, Monday through Friday leaves little time to get to the bank, (where the operating hours are from nine to five) and have learned to use my lunch break to deposit my pay check. That's where I was headed today, eating my lunch as I drove, when a utility truck started to merge right into my lane, right where I was.
I slammed on my brakes and swerved into the emergency lane, spilling my grapes all over my car. Switching lanes I looked up to see the driver wave with a remorseful countenance and mouth "Sorry!" as I passed him, and suddenly I wasn't mad anymore.
I got to thinking about that soft answer... If the driver had gently told me to calm down, I'd still be fuming as I typed this.
Or if he had smiled cheerfully and kept merging... or told me that it wasn't my fault that my car is smaller, or that I was in his blind spot...
I've used the proverbial soft answer before and seen it work, but never when I was at fault. When I'm at fault, I tend to jump to defend my actions, to smooth out other peoples responses and do all I can to keep the fingers from pointing back at me. Instead of humbling myself I tend to excuse myself. Mostly because I'm trying my best to defuse the bomb that's about to go off.
But humbly apologizing seemed to work just fine.