My family went out of town for Thanksgiving. We met extended family and we had a wonderful time.
A very gracious man in my church made that possible for us, allowing us to use his vacation home, and for that I am grateful. I am certain we made memories we will remember for the rest of our lives.
But coming home was quite the adventure. Traffic was horrific. On one occasion, while traveling at 60 mph, an SUV pulled out in front of me. I had to lock down on my brakes to keep from hitting them in the rear end.
I have to admit that my thoughts in those moments were not holy. I was quite angry with the other driver for putting me in a dangerous situation. But I also have to admit that I was frightened. We were in a construction zone. I had no place to go. I braced for impact.
I was blessed that we did not wreck. Evidently, the driver of the SUV saw me, or perhaps heard my horn blowing, and sped up very quickly. Had they not done so, the accident would have been inevitable.
Something very interesting happened soon after our near accident. I had to follow the offender for a couple of miles in the construction area. But as soon as we reached the place where we had multiple lanes again, they sped up and moved out.
I wondered if they did so in order to avoid an encounter with me. I had no desire to chase them down and say or do something ugly. But unless I had been willing to go 90 mph in a 70-mph zone, I would never have caught them. They sped off, and it was over.
I thought about that situation. The driver of the SUV was clearly in the wrong (and yes, I have made my share of bad decisions while driving, but this was not one of them). But they (I have used that pronoun because I honestly do not know if it was a man or a woman) did not want to deal with me. They wanted to avoid me and did so as quickly as possible.
That is often how it is when we wrong someone. The one who has done wrong will often seek to avoid the one who has been wronged. We feel guilty, and we do not want to deal with the situation.
But Jesus tells us to do otherwise. In fact, he says that we should even leave church and go find the person we have offended, if necessary (Matthew 5:23-24). Seeking forgiveness, seeking to right the situation, is really that important.
Is there someone you are avoiding because you know you have done them wrong? Take the time to call, email or contact them in some way. Seek forgiveness. Offer forgiveness if necessary. There is no greater gift you can give this Christmas season.