I Can’t Drive 55
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Acts 4:1-2
I have a confession: I tend to drive about five mph over the speed limit. At this pace, I sometimes get annoyed with those who are driving the speed limit because they slow me down. I’m in a hurry. Let me pass or drive faster. Discussing this with a friend a while back, he said that he used to be like me, and then he slowed down to the speed limit, which resulted in a lot less frustration on his part. I knew I was in the wrong, but I became annoyed with him for being right.
Irritation is our usual reaction when we our wrong is exposed by those who are right. We want to do things our way and when our path lies in the dark, we avoid the light. This is what happened in today’s passage as Peter and John proclaimed the gospel of Christ, upsetting the Jewish religious leaders. Having crucified Jesus, those religious leaders couldn’t tolerate the disciples spreading his message. So, they arrested the disciples to shut them up. In the dark themselves, they hated the light and simply couldn’t endure it.
There are a couple of lessons here for me. First, when I find myself irritated with another’s righteousness, I must do a little soul searching myself. Am I annoyed only because I want to continue driving fast and those slow drivers are exposing my lawlessness? It may be mildly amusing with driving, but my tendency to live how I want is a profound life problem for me. When I find myself avoiding the light because it exposes my darkness, I need to change my ways.
Second, I must understand that when I am living rightly, that some others may despise and shun me. While I was using drugs, I avoided conversations with those in recovery. Now, in recovery myself, I need to understand that those in active addiction probably don’t want to interact with me. This doesn’t mean I should avoid them. It may well be my responsibility to shine the light. It just means I should understand their avoidance. Those who desire to remain in darkness will always hate the light.