I pulled up to a set of traffic lights in my car and waited as an elderly gentleman cautiously drove in front of me from a driveway. As I sat behind his angled vehicle, I quietly said, “No problem sir. You take your time. It’s OK.” I wasn’t being sarcastic. I was countering an impatience that I detected in myself a week or so earlier when a similar incident took place. It was then that I began to realize that I was being unconsciously manipulated by modern technology.
Years ago, I enjoyed introductions for movies. Some took one or two minutes to set the scene for the waiting audience. The movie would inform them of the name of the producer, the director, the main actors (in alphabetical order), the type of color in which it was filmed, the quality of sound, etc. But nowadays, if the introduction isn’t over within about five seconds, I feel an impatience well in my heart.
That’s because almost everything has become instantaneous. Products come to the door at lightning speed. It takes me seconds to call my sister 7,000 miles away, and then I see video of her on my phone that comes to me at the speed of light. Literally. Before the Internet, if I wanted specific information for a new book, I would drive to a library, search through their many publications until I found the information for which I was looking. Then I would photocopy it, take it home, and physically type on a typewriter it into my book. Nowadays, it takes me less than one minute to locate the same information, cut it, and then paste it into my manuscript. Books that would have taken me four months to write, can be written in four weeks, if I push myself.
You may have seen a video that went viral recently of someone that most people identified as a real jerk. He sat in a plane thumping the back of the seat in front of him, because the woman passenger had reclined and left him in a cramped space. She had filmed him annoying her, and was threatening to take him to court for assault.
Most of us are unconsciously becoming jerks. We are becoming impatient, graceless, annoying jerks. There are short fuses in the home between husbands and wives, in the workplace, in the police force, and in the government among politicians. And there’s no way we are going to lighten up while technology is winding us up. It’s getting worse, and there’s no going back. But it’s more serious than mere human interactions. This impatience is resulting in road-rage deaths, and in shootings by people who were fired, and the firing lit their short fuse to where they murdered en masse.
But when someone comes to genuine faith in Jesus, there is a positive spinoff. That spinoff is the fruit of the Spirit. Love is patient and kind. It overpowers impatience and lets the elderly man in the car take his time. Love doesn’t even think of banging the back of a reclined seat. Neither does it take people to court for frivolous reasons. Husbands who love their wives as Christ loved the Church listen patiently. Employees who are fired move on without bitterness. When God’s love takes rule in a nation, crime is down. So the policeman smiles because he knows he will get home to see his family that night. And miracle of miracles, love will even cause politicians to agree not to kill babies in the womb or pass legislation that is an abomination to God. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
Plus, there is the added bonus that when a sinful world comes to true faith in Jesus, they find everlasting life! Salvation is the horse, the Fruit of the Spirit is the cart. When sinners come to Jesus they are saved from the damnation of Hell. We have peace on earth, because we have with God.