Pastor Brandon 'b-side' Alvillar
My Friend Got Punched!
When I was in junior high school, my friend and I got out of the line at the snack bar, talking to each other, about to eat our chips. Trying to get out of the crowded line, my friend accidentally bumped into some other guy. That guy immediately told some girl to hold his burrito, and bum-rushed my friend, taking him to the ground! I was stunned and didn’t know what to do. It happened so fast, and was so unprovoked. Still, there was my friend, on his back on the dirty sidewalk, with some sucker-chump kid trying to punch his face. My friend did a good job defending himself. Neither person really landed any meaningful shots. The jerk on top didn’t really know how to fight, and I could see that my friend was still in shock that he was suddenly in a fight.
For me, it was tough. I just stood there. I didn’t know what to do. Should I have jumped in and kicked that guy’s teeth in? Probably not. Should I have broken it up? My friend was just starting to get some shots in, and might be able to end the fight himself. It all happened so fast, and didn’t last long either – maybe twenty-seconds total. The only thing I do know, is that when the dean came and broke it up, and took my friend away to the office, I saw his eyes were bloodshot red from the adrenaline. On the other hand, the guy that attacked my friend, was walking away with the dean, so proud and pompous, like he had just won a prize fight by knock out. No one really won or lost that fight, but seeing my friend and then the other guy’s arrogance, filled me with rage!
That was almost thirty years ago.
Not long ago, I was on Instagram scrolling around looking at silly stuff, and suddenly, saw that same friend from junior high school, start following me! At first I was kind of excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to talk to that guy, and this is where social media can be kind of cool. But wouldn’t you know it, moments later, the thoughts that came into my mind weren’t about a potential friendly reunion. I was somehow filled with rage in just a moments time, as seeing my friend’s name, took me right back thirty years, to that junior high school fight.
I’ve thought about that fight, maybe five times my whole life since then. But that day, it came back so vividly, and the problem was that, I was angry like it had just happened again right in front of me. I was furious about that kid that started the fight, whose name I can’t even remember. In that moment, I hated that guy! I couldn’t get the anger and rage out of my mind. It was crazy that, just seeing someone’s name could put that sort of emotion in me, about a person, who might not even be alive anymore, or, might even be a fellow Christian. Y’all know what I’m talking about right?
Here's the point: We know, it’s WAY too easy for the brain to go to some really dark places, really fast. We don’t need a lot of help and inspiration. We don’t need to exhaust much effort pulling out hateful, jealous, bitter thoughts about people. Sometimes we just see an image, hear their name, or hear a sound, and suddenly, we’re heated! It’s crazy.
Anger is one of those things that causes bitterness with the quickness, and just like that, the joy we’re supposed to have in salvation, is gone. Where did it go? Maybe just as important, how do we find it again? If we all have to deal with this issue, what can we do to minimize the bitterness and anger? Here are some things I’ve learned over the years that have been helpful to me, and might also be helpful to you.
Be careful about where you put your eyes – Don’t knowingly put yourself in position to be bitter, jealous, or angry
Be aware of how much time you spend thinking about certain circumstances or people – If it’s too much, your mind needs to be focused in other places PROACTIVELY & PURPOSEFULLY
Have a verse to fall back on, that specifically speaks of better things concerning the joy of the LORD and the salvation He’s promised
Every day I have a reminder set on my computer and my phone to go off at 11am with Psalm 68:3-4, which says…
“But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yes, let them rejoice exceedingly. Sing to God, sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him.”
You can’t really read or recite this verse in a bitter tone. The way it’s written kind of makes you smile a bit, talking about the amazing glory of the LORD with an excited tone. I’ve learned that, if I just repeat this a bunch of times, then start thinking about the meaning of each phrase, it’s hard for the anger to linger. It might come back, but this is one way I’ve found to help push it off. The Bible teaches that we should keep our mind on heavenly things that are pure, lovely, and noble. When your mind shows that it has a will of its own, give this a try, and see if the Word of God might not just temper that temper a bit.
#memories #reflection #flashbacks #temptation #tipsandtricks #christianblog #christianliving