“He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Psalms 23: 3 NIV)
We all make mistakes. It’s a part of life. What we need to learn early on, however, is that our mistakes have consequences…
I was in high school, and as part of our Gym curriculum, we went to the public pool for swimming. I was swimming along and enjoying myself when suddenly a strong kid came up to me and pushed my head under the water. I came up sputtering and choking, but I barely had time to gasp for a little air when he pushed my head back down under the water a second time.
Once was bad enough, but twice? I wasn’t happy. I was, in fact, seeing red!
Unfortunately for me, the supervising teacher had not seen the incident; but since he was still looking in the opposite direction, I decided to take things into my own hands. I retaliated! I pushed that kid’s head under the water and held it down!
It was only seconds, however, before the whistle blew and the supervising teacher was at the edge of the pool yelling at me to stop. He didn’t believe me when I said the other kid had started it, and for punishment, I was sent home from school for the rest of the day.
Now I had never caused problems at school before, and I felt terrible. I was so ashamed to have to admit to my parents that I had been sent home for misbehavior that I couldn’t even sleep that night. I was so depressed! And that depression stayed with me all week. It didn’t help when my dad told me to not worry about it and my mom tried to assure me the afternoon would go by quickly. It didn’t even help when my English teacher, who I respected and who liked me as a student, told me he still believed in me!
I remember thinking how unfair it was that the other kid started the water war, but I was the only one punished. Why did the teacher have to look up just then? Why couldn’t he have looked up moments before when it was my head under the water? It didn’t take me long, however, to realize that this would have made no difference at all. Even if the teacher had not noticed what I did, my Heavenly Father would have seen, and He would not have been happy.
The good news is, I did learn my lesson. God used this incident to help me see that even though the other student had provoked me, I had still made a mistake. God truly guided me along the right paths for His name’s sake (Psalms 23:3), for I determined I would never again seek revenge.
In His love,
(To access the entire “The Sling for God” devotional series, please click here.)