It was not quite dark at 9:00 p.m. My kids, however, had been in bed for a couple of hours. I sat on the couch with a crisp new book, grateful for a few moments to myself.
Outside, I could hear a car engine revving. It had been revving for quite some time and clearly the girls could hear it too because they were most definitely still awake. My oldest was, at least.
My next-door neighbours fix cars. On this particular night, every square inch of their property was jam-packed with noisy vehicles in need of repair and with friends who had come to help repair them.
As I sat on the couch and tried to focus on the open pages in front of me, fumes pouring through the open windows made it increasingly difficult to breathe. I peeked outside. The air was thick and dark with smoke billowing from a car sitting on the front lawn next door.
I ran upstairs to check on the girls. Their room was also filled with fumes. I quickly snatched them out of bed and brought them to another, clearer room where they could breathe.
I was upset – in full fledged “Mama Bear” mode at this point – which means that my neighbours were going to receive a very loud piece of my mind. But two things happened that changed everything.
First of all, I remembered a scripture that I had been studying about unrighteous anger.
Secondly, my toddler began to randomly sing her favourite Switchfoot song. (Yes, my two-year old loves Switchfoot. She is apparently much cooler than her country-loving mother.) The words she sang? “Rise above it!”
Rise above it. Sometimes, that’s what we need to do. It’s the same principle as turning the other cheek.
Is a broken-down car really worth sacrificing my credibility as a witness for Christ?
I made a decision. I closed the bedroom windows so no more fumes could get inside, turned on the fan to clear the air, and put the girls back to bed. Then I went downstairs and picked up my book again.
“Rise above it.” Out of the mouths of babes.