Recently I was travelling in Sydney. I’m not very familiar with the city, and given its size and complexity, we opted to use a GPS navigation unit in our hire car.
I’ve not used a GPS before, so it was quite an experience. There’s nothing quite like a machine quietly and consistently telling you where to go!
More than once I thought “now I know how people can get a long way off track if the GPS unit glitches”. It’s so easy to blindly follow the GPS instructions without any idea where you actually are.
At the end of our trip we had gotten to know parts of the city well enough that we knew we wanted to take a particular route to the airport, using a particular combination of motorways we knew would be the quickest at the time we were travelling.
Unfortunately, the GPS unit wanted us to go a different way.
As I travelled through the suburbs, regional roads and onto the motorway of my choice, my GPS unit quietly and insistently tried to correct me – regularly telling me to do a U-turn, or to take a left or right in order to get me back onto the route it new would be the best way to get to the airport. I repeatedly ignored its advice, taking my own route.
At some point along the journey, I started expecting the tone of voice of the GPS to change….to become more insistent, more frustrated, angry perhaps that I was ignoring its directions. I was expecting it to act out of its humanity.
Of course the GPS doesn’t do any such thing. And for the next 30 minutes it quietly, patiently encouraged me to take it’s directions.
Somewhere along the way I got to thinking about Jesus. One of the things Jesus taught (and lived) was grace, graciousness and forgiveness. Famously Jesus once said “don’t forgive once, not even seven times, but seventy times seven”. The point of course being that grace and forgiveness should not be a once-only deal.
Just like my GPS.
I wonder how my kids life experience might be different if I had the patience, grace and forgiveness of a GPS unit?
(by the way, we made it to the airport on time!)