The human mind is an amazing organ that can instantaneously render a decision using a host of different ideas. It is done with computer-like speed when there is no time to reflect on the fruit of the options available. Many years ago while I was collecting homework, one of my brighter students didn’t have anything for me. Before I pondered the fruit of a remark, I made a smartish comment about his bleary eyes and what it appeared he had done instead of studying. Instantly he responded with a disrespectful reply. Tit for tat! Just then I bit my tongue from responding in kind. I had a good one, but in that instant my brain went into hyper drive.
“What was I here for? Was it to be a teacher – an example? Or was I here to show off to the other students how witty and cool I was? What if this kid was sharper than I? What if he had another retort ready that was better than mine? Was I prepared to go low with yet another? Where was this headed? What did I want for this student? Did I want him to succeed in life? What would the other students (who were now all ears) think if I lost the exchange? What would they think if I won?”
It was then that I thought of Romans 12:10. Paul wrote, “Honor one another above yourself.” Or as paraphrased in The Message, “Practice playing second fiddle.” All of this occurred in a millisecond and I said, “I’m sorry.” He stopped as if someone hit him in the stomach. The next class he brought the homework assignment and to this day, many years later, he is my friend. I learned it as a child. Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” It worked.
Written by Roger Bothwell on May 17, 2016
PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574