Several summers ago while staying with our son Nick and his wife Anna in Scarborough we were crossing a roundabout when an old chap in a Mercedes joined the roundabout without looking and collided with the rear passenger side of our people carrier. We pulled over and he immediately admitted that he had not seen us, despite the size of our vehicle. He hadn’t seen the two elderly pedestrians who were crossing the road either. Fortunately it was us he hit, not them! As we were exchanging details Mercedes man suddenly shouted: “I know why I didn’t see you. It’s because you were driving too fast!” I pointed out that I was already on the roundabout, and that he was supposed to give way to vehicles approaching from the right or already on the roundabout. He was having none of it. The accident was completely my fault and I was going to pay for causing him to drive into me. Fortunately insurers and solicitors took a different view.
Just before Christmas this year we had another accident. As my wife approached a junction on her way home from the hairdressers a large pick-up swung in and across the front of her intending to perform a U-turn and head back the way he had come. Marilyn stopped half a car’s length behind him. Suddenly he began to reverse, worried perhaps that his front end was sticking out into the traffic, or that he had insufficient space to perform the turn. She hit the horn. He hit our car. Toyota Hilux versus Ford Focus. Guess which one won?
When Marilyn came home we called our insurers. Given past experience we expected the other driver to claim that Marilyn had driven into him. But within an hour we had a call from his insurance company. Their man had been on the phone to report an accident and had accepted 100% of the blame! They would take full responsibility for repairs, loan vehicle, etc. We were overwhelmed by the honesty of the other driver and it restored our faith in human nature.
The problem with human nature is that we hate accepting the blame and will search for reasons to justify why we are not at fault. If we allow excuses to dominate our lives then we may find that an attitude develops in which we believe that we are better than other people. Jesus set an example in life and in death. In life He chose to live as a servant. In death He chose to take not just the blame, but also the punishment, despite being without fault. It is probably time we stopped making excuses. The way that Jesus lived needs to be speaking into our lives. There is simply no excuse not to be following His example. Then perhaps He will be able to speak through our lives.
Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favour. “What is your request?” he asked.
She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honour next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”
“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”
Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”
When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:20-28 NLT)