Ever since the onset of gasoline-fueled automobiles racers have been trying to one-up each other competitively. The first recorded organized contest of speed took place on April 28, 1887. Just one competitor showed up for that first race, but he was there to go fast (relatively speaking).
Racers have been wired with the desire to go fast, and beat everyone else, ever since.
As motor sports have evolved through the years so has the speed and technology.
That first contest of speed in 1887 ran from Neuilly Bridge to Bois de Boulonge; it was a 1.2 mile trek in a 3hp vehicle. At Bristol Motor Speedway, we find ourselves standing around 625+hp machines barreling around a ½ mile coliseum in under 15 seconds.
With every lap I watch at speed inside this small bowl I am reminded of just how quickly drivers have to react behind the wheel. With average race speeds hitting 101mph and average qualifying speeds nearing 130mph there is not a lot of time to react.
Quick judgments have to be made on the track with limited information available. Sometimes these judgments are right; and sometimes they are not. Unfortunately, that is just the result of speed.
Life happens fast too. Circumstances and situations are always coming our way that we have to react to.
As racers, our tendency is to react quickly.
We’ve been trained in motor sports to go fast and to react fast; those tendencies trickle down into every area of our life.
When we make quick judgments in life hindsight often shows us that our decision would have been different if we took the time to slow down and evaluate everything that is happening.
We cast blame. We pass judgment. We start fights. We are unforgiving. We are dead-set on our opinion. We are drawn to anger. All because we are quick to react.
I think that is why when James was writing to us about the trials we would face in life he interjected this very important reminder…
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:19-20
Just like on the racetrack, life comes at us fast.
That is why it is vital for us to learn to slow down.
Whether it is face to face or on social media, we must all be quick to listen and slow to speak. Our anger that is born from snap reactions does not produce the character God desires in us.
So in our lives, as we focus on speed, may we also remember to slow down too; loving others as we love ourselves.