I’m fourteen years old. My life is in turmoil – divorced parents, foster care, physical abuse. I am an angry boy. I have a short fuse, but that is just an excuse.  I walk the school halls hoping someone will look at me wrong so that I have an excuse to let my rage loose. Sometimes, my friends literally hold me back.

Fast forward 20-some years. I’m in  a fast food restaurant, and place an order. The clerk, who is quite a bit younger than I, and a lot smaller, recites the order – but there is an error.

So, I say, “Sir, that last item wasn’t right, I would like a chicken sandwich.

That’s not what you said.

Oh, OK. Would you mind changing it to a chicken sa…

You’re saying I’m lying?!” he screamed.

Oh no, I figured I must have mis-spoken, in which case, I’m sorry. Could you please change tha…

Now you’re saying I am not listening?!?!?” Screaming even louder.

I couldn’t figure out what I had done to incite him. I replied, ever so calmly, “Oh no, sir. I would not do that. Could you cha…

He began to threaten me. I really think he wanted to fight!

I kept assuring him that I meant no offense. I eventually got my order and said, “Thank you, and again I apologize for the confusion.” and walked out.

My son was with me.

When we got in the car he says, “Dad – the stories I’ve heard about you – I thought you were going to kill him!

First of all, I am ashamed that he knows these stories.

Secondly, there was a time when that young man would have had a near death experience by my hands. But God changed me – that’s the last thing I want to ever do – and it was a long hard road to get here.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:21)

On my journey, I realized that “do not be overcome with evil” starts way before it ever gets physical. How do I react to people in my mind? How does that translate to my eyes, my face, my tongue? This verse deals with how we react to someone who does “evil” to us. Read the rest (Romans 12:17-21). You’ll realize that the right response to someone doing you wrong is to love them. Wow.

11 thoughts on “hold.me.back”

    1. Sorry to snicker a bit Michael, but that reminds me of something Angel’s mother tells my son all the time – “You’re writing checks that your butt can’t cash!” I appreciate the transparency, Michael.

  1. I’m glad He gives new chances and you let Him change you otherwise we wouldn’t have met you.

    Romans 12 is coming back to me the last days.I read it and than read Dusty’s post and it was about Romans 12 and now you. I can’t stop thinking how God would react if we would be angry. We should react the same. We don’t have more right than Him to be angry at anything or anyone. Am I wrong here? Really, I’m asking this.

    1. While I DO think there is such a thing as righteous anger, I think you’re right. When dealing with people, we should be slow to anger.

      “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19)

  2. Wow, I so needed to read this in this season. I’m still in the transition from “there” to “here.” Thanks for sharing.

  3. I never got people escalating things like that, but your story puts it more in perspective. I probably would have taken it to the manager once he started screaming, but I’m surprised no one else said anything to him. Maybe they were afraid of him too!

    It is amazing how God takes us wherever we are and breathes life to transform and change us from the inside out. Great story and point. Thanks Herb.

  4. Glad you held back. I think we often try to look out for ourselves too much in these situations and allow the “flesh” to get the best of us. We need to try to remember that the people we deal with have lives and bad days and need to see Jesus in us.

  5. although there are stories in our lives that we don’t want anyone to know about, sometimes they help to show how much we have changed since then. thanks for sharing, Herb.

    and thanks for the reminder… i needed it today… *sigh*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *