Pastor Stewart Rawson: Trying a little harder to be kind: Part II


Last summer I was serving at a church in North Carolina (They think everything is better there than it is in South Carolina. We don't have to tell them the truth, or they will all want to move down here). In the summer, folks typically take vacations, and so worship attendance is a little thinner. Sometimes for a change of pace I like to do a lighthearted sermon series for those who are around. I preached a sermon titled, "Can You Be a Christian and Drive a Car?"

We have serious issues that we must deal with as a community like our neighbors going hungry and gun violence, but each and every day we can exert a little more effort, spend a little more energy thinking about how we act toward others. And when we get behind the wheel of the car, perhaps there is no better time to stop and think about who we want to be.

My thoughts on this very important daily opportunity come from my own personal experience. When I climb into the driver's seat and get behind the wheel, I find it difficult to remember that as a person of faith I am called to love others. It is so easy to focus on what I need to do, where I need to go, how late I am and forget that anyone else exists. When the light changes and the car in front of me hesitates even for two seconds, it is difficult for me not to lose my religion.

A year ago, I was turning right, and I was in a hurry (when are we not in a hurry?). There was a car opposite me that was turning left. They had the right of way, but I thought I could take advantage of the small gap and go quickly. The driver laid on their horn (literally I think they were lying on their horn). We were both going to the same drive-through, and so we made the same turn into the parking lot. When she got out of her car, she was screaming at me, and I was afraid for what might happen next. I got out of line and left, hoping to diffuse the tense situation. As I said, it was my hurry that started the chain of events.

I committed that day to work hard on being a more patient driver. I made a pledge to myself that I would try to stop at yellow lights rather than trying to fly through them. I vowed that I would take a deep breath and count to 10 when the actions of another driver made me angry. Don't ask me (or my wife) how I am doing, but I am still trying harder each day.

Stewart Rawson is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Sumter.