“Be ye kind one to the other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another …” Eph 4:28-32
When my two oldest sons, Sam and Andy, were in high school, they went to military school in New Mexico. Secretly, they said they wanted to go to military school because there was less discipline there than there was at home. I don’t know. Maybe. All in all, I think they learned a lot there, both in education and in life experiences. Not all good, but certainly some was. They made good grades; they excelled in the military training; and they responded well to the military discipline (probably learned that at home?). ‘Course they weren’t perfect angels, but who is? Both of them got in some trouble from time to time, partly because they were a little resistant to authority. Can’t imagine where they got that. As a matter of fact, both of them got kicked out for various reasons, but both of them got back in and graduated.
This little story is about Sam. One day, for some unknown reason, he decided he’d stick the fire hose in the window of the Tactical Officer’s office (Tach Office) and fill it up with water while the Tach Officer was away doing his rounds one night. When he came back, the tach office was about 2½ feet deep in water (up to the bottom of the windows), and when he opened the door, the water knocked him down flowing out the door. He was a little hot.
Because there is a “secret code of honor,” nobody squealed on Sam for several hours. Finally, the officers devised a way to put enough pressure on everybody that someone finally gave in and told them who did it. That was maybe 10:00–11:00 in the morning. Shortly after that, the Officer of the Day called me on the phone in our hometown, maybe 6 hours away. His first words were, “Come and get the sumbitch; we don’t want him around here.” After that, he gave me a short version of what happened and then told me that Sam and all his belongings would be waiting for me out on the curb, whenever I was able to get there. He knew how far I was away, and he didn’t care. Then I said, “I want to talk to Sam.” The guy said, “He doesn’t want to talk to you.” But he put him on.
You know, my kids were used to me talking mean to them. That was what always happened whenever they did something they weren’t supposed to do. So Sam was ready. He was the one who knew it wouldn’t do any good to beg for mercy, so he just kept his mouth shut. Said only what was necessary to be respectful.
But that day was different. I was sitting there in my office and I heard these words coming out of my own mouth, “Sam, I don’t know exactly what happened; but it’s going to be all right. We’ll figure out some way to work this thing out; take care of what happened; and get through it. You don’t worry about it. I’ll be there as soon as I can get there, and I’m leaving right now.” He didn’t say much. I don’t think he was any more ready for what I said than I was.
I had time to think about the whole thing while I was driving out there. I decided it must have been God who intervened in that situation. God changed my heart, and the change in my heart made for a change in my speech. On the way, I realized that I loved Sam, and Andy, that they were my sons, and I didn’t have any business talking to them like they were dogs. I decided I should talk to my sons at least as well as I’d talk to my adult friends—and I’d never talk to any of them like that; I’d be afraid they’d whip my rear. And right there, driving out to New Mexico, I made a vow to God that I’d try to talk nicer to all the members of my family. I haven’t always succeeded, but God is still working on me, and He’s not finished with me yet.
The time writing this book has given me a renewed desire to focus my attention on surrendering my mouth to God so that He can be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving through me to my family (and to others). I’m more sure than ever that this is what love is really about in terms of being a “doer” of His Word, in terms of obeying the direction of the Holy Spirit, in terms of being patient, and kind, never rude, not demanding, or irritable or grouchy, and hardly even noticing if others do me wrong. (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) from Out o’th’ Bushes, by Tex Tonroy © 2016