I’m a nice person.
But, not always.
Once upon a time, back in high school, I was constantly teased by a boy. The funny(???) thing is, today, I have no idea what he teased me about. He wasn’t mean, but he would say things that always made me feel dumb. I’ve always said I’d be great on the speech team, but horrible on any debate team. I just can’t think that quickly on my feet. I’m the person who comes up with the witty retort an hour too late.
So, on one particular day, this boy said something to me & I of course was hopelessly flustered. But, I came up with a plan & I thought about it all through my Social Studies class. Since I couldn’t get back at him with my words, I’d do something to him with my actions.
Social Studies was the last class of the day & it took place in a little building just off the school. I remember it was a nice day, so everyone was casually strolling back toward the main building to hit their lockers before heading home. Now, the boy was walking ahead of me, leisurely holding his belongings under one arm. I quickly moved up behind him & swatted the books from under his arm. Instantly, books, papers & folders sprawled out everywhere on the walkway. I thought I was so cool & laughed out loud. “Finally,” I thought, “I got him!” As I turned around, I saw him stooping down in an attempt to gather everything up, while the rest of the class laughed as they walked around him.
I felt terrible.
I instantly stopped & ran back to help him pick everything up. One of my friends called out, “Kel, what are you doing?” I told him I was really sorry & that I don’t normally act that way. As we walked back to the building, again, I told him how sorry I was to embarrass him in front of everyone else. He chuckled & said it was okay.
And he stopped teasing me.
One of my favorite books in the Bible is 1 John. Check out this passage:
3We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. 4The man who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: 6Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6)
I love the image of walking along side Jesus as I go through this life. And one thing I have recently discovered is I have a tendency to think inside a very small box when it comes to walking. I think I’m only progressing when I’m walking forward. However, I have found that some of my defining moments occur when I turn around.
For example, I would have always regretted not turning around to help that boy pick up his belongings. I’m embarrassed by what I did in the first place. The action itself was bad enough, but the intention behind it is what really disappoints me. Talk about moving in the wrong direction! Sometimes, we need to work on turning around. It’s such an intentional motion. You have to literally stop moving in one direction & consciously choose to go another way. Perhaps it’s a moment in our past where we need to apologize to someone & ask for forgiveness. Or maybe it’s stopping & turning to lend a helping hand. I think we have an opportunity to reveal who we really are in the turnaround.
I guess it’s just another one of those things that makes life so interesting.
Sometimes, it isn’t until we walk backward that we actually begin moving forward.
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