Whenever I eventually do trade in my 2004 Honda Element for a newer SUV with a 3rd row seat, I have already decided I will not be putting a “nice dad” sticker on my back window: No stick figure family, no logo from my kid’s school, not even a Christian fish symbol.
It’s Nashville. I’m a commuter from a bedroom community. I typically spend a minimum of about 2 hours a day, navigating through chaos from the congested back roads to the often stand-still Interstate.
Being perceived by other drivers as a “nice guy” is not what I’m interested in when I’m on I-65 or Columbia Pike. Otherwise, I’d be in danger of also being perceived as a hypocrite in other drivers’ eyes when I am either driving too fast or too slow for their liking.
Other drivers’ personal perception of my driving ultimately serves a reflection of the legitimacy of whatever sticker is on my car.
Yeah, I know that sounds obtuse and illogical. But it’s true…
If a non-Christian driver perceives that I selfishly pulled out in front of him, then sees a Christian emblem on my car, that driver is placed in a position where he can theorize: “There’s another one of those self-centered, hypocritical Christians! Why would I ever want to be like them?”
Instead, I’d rather be known as the guy who other drivers don’t have high expectations for. The easiest way I can think to accomplish this is to simply have one black sticker on my back windshield:
That way, when I have to hurry and pass another car real quick on the Interstate in order to reach the exit lane in time because of how congested all 4 lanes are, I’m not a jerk. Instead, I’m simply what they expect from a guy who listens to the legendary heavy metal band Metallica: I’m assertive, intimidating, and unpredictable.
However, when I do something courteous, like when another driver is trapped trying to make awkward turn and I let them in (which is something I do several times per day), and then I eventually catch up to them when that one single lane transitions to a double, and I’m now in the other lane and they can see the back of my vehicle…
Now, I’ve suddenly become the Good Samaritan. Why?
Because, hey, the Metallica guy was nice to me!
I’d rather be perceived as a nice Metallica fan rather than a “hypocrite” with a Christian fish symbol on my car. I
My ironic theory is that it’s easier for those fellow commuters to see the grace and kindness of a Christian when there is no Christian label, as I’ve learned that people naturally have higher expectations of Christians; meaning it’s also easier to be disappointed by Christians.
No one is disappointed by a guy who listens to Metallica. But as a commuter, I say the Metallica guy has got a better chance of being seen as a saint, compared to a guy with a Christian fish symbol on his car.