Would Jesus be a courteous driver?

I’m reading “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years,” Diarmaid MacCulloch’s New York Times’ best-selling opus.

Don’t be too impressed — I’m on page 87. Only 1,097 pages to go!

golden ruleOver the weekend I read the Gospels’ retelling of Jesus’ time as a public speaker. Matthew and Luke agree on the idiosyncrasies of language Jesus used, a meaningful comment on the historical veracity of the texts.

One of the most famous tenants of Jesus’ philosophy became known as The Golden Rule. Or, as Matthew 7:12 states: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

So I’m thinking about Jesus’ Golden Rule as it relates to driving. We all drive hundreds of hours and hundreds of miles every week and our behavior behind the wheel continues to confound and astound me.

Just let me say here that I am as guilty as anyone. As George Carlin used to say, anybody driving slower than me is an “idiot,” while anyone driving faster is a “maniac.”

So there’s that very un-Jesus-like attitude to driving.

Then you have the folks who veer too far in the other direction, IMO. These people take an overly courteous approach to the road. You know the type. The ones who stop amid traffic and point to you and insist that you cross the street in front of their Lincoln Navigator.

I think I’d rather not, thank you.

I saw this Saturday, when a woman stopped on a busy two-lane road and waited for oncoming traffic to clear, just so a woman on the opposite side of the road could cross.

Frankly, I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind either. And the drivers who stacked up behind this courteous driver most definitely did not take a Christian view of the situation.

I don’t mean to make light of this, really I don’t. Courtesy and manners and concern for your fellow humans all occupy valuable places in our society. I think we could stand to improve on all of them.

But I am bothered every day by our approach to driving. I think Jesus would be as well. How do you grade yourself as a driver based on Jesus’ Golden Rule?

I am probably a 6 and can use a lot of improvement. After all, Jesus also said to not to judge others, but to fix your own faults first (Matthew 7:1).

About John Hilton

I grew up in Susquehanna County, Pa. and graduated Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism/political science in 1998. After working for nearly three years for a weekly paper in upstate New York, I came to southcentral Pennsylvania. I spent 13 years as a reporter and editor for The Sentinel in Carlisle and joined the York Daily Record as religion reporter in September 2011.
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One Response to Would Jesus be a courteous driver?

  1. JT says:

    Let the driver who has been waiting for a long time to make a left turn at a stop sign go before you proceed straight—what does it cost? A couple of seconds?

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