My daughter told me a story yesterday. She said she was in heavy traffic, stuck behind a great big pickup truck, “…from Georgia…” she said, like it meant it something.
She said the traffic was bumper to bumper and barely moving, and the pickup kept swerving back and forth. The driver appeared to be angrily trying to see “what in the world is going on up there?!”
Ah, yes. There’s nothing like city traffic to bring out the best in all of us. And pretty soon we’re even categorizing people by the state they’re from.
Think about it. Why did she say what state they were from? And it really didn’t matter if it was a pickup from Georgia or a Jaguar from New York.
Now let’s practice thinking deeply about why we do what we do.
First of all, if she had been in a smooth flow of traffic, she wouldn’t have cared. But because she was in this tense traffic situation herself, she was probably a little on edge, a little *prickly* to begin with.
And as soon as we get even the littlest bit *prickly* - we start looking from someone to blame or criticize.
Now stay with me. Can you see the connection? This is at the core of why we do what we do. It sets off a chain reaction, and it all starts with feeling *prickly.*
It’s a funny word, I know, but let’s keep going.
She’s in heavy traffic, and starts to feel *prickly* because of it. Then the (now this is my word, not hers) “idiot” in front of her starts swerving.
Now think. This guy had absolutely nothing to do with the heavy traffic, which was the cause of her *prickliness.* But now he has caught her attention. He will now become her target. She is *prickly,* and this condition leads you to find someone to *prickle.* And it’s usually the first person that grabs your attention - that is different from you!
Here is another scenario: You come to work, and something has made you *prickly.* Now it is human nature - in this condition you must find someone to *prickle.* And it’s probably going to be the first person that grabs your attention, that is different from you. Let’s say you are a woman, and there is this other woman at work that dresses in a way that, “Why on earth does she dress like that?! Good heavens, she looks like a fruit basket!”
Now come on. You know it happens. And you may never mention it, and probably don’t even really care what she wears. But today you’re feeling *prickly* and so out it comes. Boom. You say something snotty about her clothes. She says something snotty back, and “Way to go. Now you’ve started a catfight.”
How did you end up there?
In the Bible, James 1:19 says, “Take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
I think one key to avoiding angry situations like this is to listen - listen for the little scratchings in our soul that indicate the presence of little *prickles.* As soon you notice, pray. Turn it over to God. Surrender your irritation to Him and ask for peace in its place.
And just think how much better the world will be as we all become a little less *prickly!*
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