Self-Control and Self-Defense

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. ~Lao Tzu

In high school my older son was part of a police PSA video about drunk driving. As an actor, my boy was “arrested” in a night scene. Someone on set took a picture and sent it to him.

Graduation came and went. We had a family party and then they all headed back home. Our family went on a picnic at a local island.

And then I received a phone call from my cousin.

“Where’s Jonathan?”

“In the car behind me. Why?”

Then the sordid details fell into place. My naive son had posted on social media the picture of being arrested as a joke with the caption, “It was a quite a night.”

The great-aunts had seen the picture and news and tears spread like a flash flood.

We put everything right as fast as possible, but the lesson was learned.

Bad news travels fast and people will believe anything.

Paul had made it to Jerusalem, but his reputation- and many lies -had preceded him.

He was accused, beaten, arrested, and nearly condemned before he could open his mouth.

Have you been there?

Your husband, long ago a closet-drinker, is spotted in the cold medicine aisle. You’re on the phone talking your mother out of calling counselors before he even gets the Nyquil home to you.

Your son’s best friend rides to the store with some unsavory characters. The next thing you know a neighbor is on your doorstep demanding to know why you’re letting teens have a drug party in the backyard.

Your daughter is exploring other churches to find her own faith. Well-meaning, but misinformed, friends take you to lunch after worship to school you about the dangers of encouraging children to turn from truth.

Paul’s response was calm and calculated. Without bitterness or rage he asked to speak to the crowds who were demanding his death.

It took courage. It took self-control. It took strength.

You have what it takes, too.

A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire. A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good.
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:27-29,32 NIV

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