When preachers use a road-rage analogy, everyone seems to recognize the feeling in themselves. I remember what it used to be like when another driver cut in front of me.
This was my lane, my space. If I hadn’t hit my brakes, I would have slammed into him, and I almost wished I had. I called him a jerk, an idiot, an inconsiderate something-or-other, whatever kindness that came to mind. He couldn’t hear me, but I thought it was important to tell him how I felt.
But wait. With my stress, I was punishing myself, not him.
I didn’t like the feeling when my blood boiled, but what could I do to change? If I knew the other driver, I would be more accepting. By imagining my father as the other driver, I made myself more caring, able to accept his behavior and avoid the stress.
Then I learned another trick. When stressing over how bad conditions were, I thought about how much worse they could be. For example: If I hadn’t seen the driver cutting in front of me, I would have hit him from behind and the crash would have been my fault. This allowed me to accept conditions as they were and be thankful in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Since stress damages our health, our emotions, and our productivity, a passion to love the undeserving is a wonderful replacement emotion.