Proverbs 25:28 – “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.” NKJV
James 1:19-21 – “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” NASU
Valentine’s Day! Thinking of ways, I can make this a special day for my earthly treasure my wonderful wife and sweetheart. As I began this day my mind went back to an event that transpired in my senior year of high school and my mother.
To say that I was a rebel as a teenager would be somewhat fair, but unfair when it came to my word or commitment to my mother I was resolute in determination to keep my word. If I promised her something I fulfilled that promise even if it took every ounce of willpower that I possessed to stand true to that promise.
The summer before my senior year, 5 of us decided that we would go to the last fling of summer held by college kids at Garner State Park South of San Antonio, which took place the weekend after Labor Day and two days after our senior year of High School began. We had planned it all summer. Foolishly we went to school rather than simply playing hooky. It was planned that after the morning assembly, we would leave school and head out, picking up a 5th person on the way. The assembly introduced the new principal, who felt that things had been too lax at the school for a few years and he promised to run a tight ship. He broke down how the corporal punishment would be administered:
First Trip – 3 licks with the paddle.
Second Trip – 5 licks with the paddle.
Third Trip – 10 licks with the paddle.
Fourth Trip – 3 Day Suspension
Fifth Trip – You are done Expelled.
Even with the speech we gave it little thought, 3 licks didn’t seem too high a price for a wild weekend at Garner with COLLEGE GIRLS! Oh, the minds and hormones of teenage boys! Therefore, we departed as planned, had a memorable weekend and 2 of us came back to school on Monday to face the music, the other two skipped feigning sickness (more like cowardice).
The principal was red-faced and the veins were popping out of his neck as he talked to us. He had been given the information on what we had done by some of the other students and he was livid! He asked my partner in crime, where he had gone, and he told him that he just went out of town to visit family & friends. He lied, and the principal gave him 10 licks without much ado, not hard but this guy jumped around all over the room hollering as though he was being killed and that seemed to be what the principal wanted. Then he came to me and asked where I had gone. I told him the truth and he almost had a stroke. The veins popped out on his neck, his face turned red then ashen, his hands began trembling and with a voice that shook he had me bend over, grab his desk and he hit me 10 times as hard as he could with the paddle. Being the headstrong teen that I was at that time I never flinched and that made him even madder. We skipped phase 1 & 2 going straight to phase 3, which would mean another trip to the office and it was a suspension.
I went home that afternoon and showed my mother the black and blue marks on my behind and said to her, “Mother I took this one for you, but you have to know I won’t take that again.” Today, the man would have lost his job and possibly faced prison time for abuse but back then it was different. Mother never told my dad for fear of his response. She did go to the Superintendent and he apologized and asked if we wanted an apology from the principal. I told mother NO!
Was I right in what I did? NO! Was he right in what he did? NO! But the thing that the Lord reminded me of was this: I did manage to rule over my spirit and refrain from what action I wanted to take and although I was not slow to anger, I was slow to speak. Not a justification for my actions, I deserved punishment, just not quite that extent.
As an addendum, that principal developed a respect for me because of how I handled the action and told me so at the end of the year. He expected me to react physically and verbally, which I did not do. He even defended me in a false accusation later in the year which almost cost him his job.
After I came to know the Lord, I found that there are times when things happen that infuriate the flesh and make you want to lash out, but the heart of Jesus is to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Many times, what has happened is not about you or them, it’s about the spirit behind, the action or reaction. It’s a heart condition! I’ve had people get really angry at me, not because of what I had done or said but because of the Spirit of God within me. God has helped me to see that and give a soft answer! I’ve fallen short of that at times and would quickly run to the woodshed to repent.
But, even as a lost, rebellious teenager my love and honor for my mother were stronger than my desire to retaliate! Love will enable you to do things, endure things and be what you would not be or do otherwise. The love that I had for her was great but, my love for the Lord is magnified by an untold exponent in comparison. Don’t let anger rule you! Don’t let words separate or destroy you. Walk away and allow the Holy Spirit to bring peace to your heart.
I’ve shared a dark side of my youth only to point out the power of LOVE! If you have children, LOVE will guide their lives in a more powerful manner than anything else you can offer! My mother’s love for me and mine for her kept me alive long enough for God to draw me out of the darkness into His marvelous light! Let love rule your hearts! Walk in Love!
Blessings and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to one and all!