Friday, March 16, 2007

I am in the middle of putting together a fantastic refutation to the Lost Tomb of Jesus documentary…but I keep getting side tracked. Both plants are keeping me busy…real busy.

I have resisted for the last week the urge to skip that blog and move to this one…but I can resist no longer. I have got to share with the dozens and dozens of people, world wide, that read this blog what happened to me last Friday night and the lessons I’ve learned upon reflection.

Last Friday night Naomi and I went out to eat with her grandparents…they paid for our dinner in celebration of my birthday…a few weeks late, lol, but such is the way of things in our family. Naomi and her grandmother work for the same company and the owner of that company gave them each two tickets to some weird circus show that I guess is famous in Las Vegas or something. So we turned that birthday dinner into a double date…we met for dinner and then drove to the show afterwards.

Anyway, after we left the restaurant we parted company so Naomi and I could find our car and grandpa and grandma could find theirs. They were going to follow us to this circus dance show thing…grandpa and I couldn’t wait to get there and see these men dance around in tights and do back flips (roll of the eyes here).

Being the gentleman that I am…especially in front of grandpa…I opened Naomi’s door and shut it for her when she got in. I walked around the back of the car and opened my door and was ready to hop in…and as I did so I tapped the car next to ours with my car door….something we’ve all done. I didn’t crack it, smash it or slam it…it tapped. Well…apparently the car was occupied. I’m not exactly sure the situation, all I know is that a women was in the drivers seat and a man was the passenger. Immediately his door started to open and I hear “what the ^%%^()#@*!#$%* is your problem? Watch what the %#@^(#@! you are doing you dumb %$#@@!!!”

Pause. I need to pause this story right here to give you all some perspective. I’m 6 feet and 3 inches tall. I’m 29 years old. I’ll not tell you my weight…but I’ve thought about making a call to Berea in order to set up an interview with Romeo Crennel or at the very least Steve Marshall. I’m not fast…but I’m quick for my size. I’m real strong. I’m red blooded and I have struggled with a quick temper my whole life. I’ve been beaten up before…and I’ve beaten people up before. I’m not afraid to take a hit…I learned a long time ago that a punch in the face won’t kill me. And without one doubt…had this situation taken place 10 years ago I would have immediately, without hesitation, physically and maliciously attacked this guy. In fact I do have a couple stories from 10-15 years ago of similar situations happening when I did just that…I attacked. Sometimes I beat the guy up…sometimes I got beat up…most of the time we both got beat up. I’m impulsive by nature as it is…but there was something about that kind of tone, that kind of unfiltered disrespect that flipped my switch and turned me into an animal. If you are mild mannered this is just hard for me to explain…but something would come over me and I couldn’t feel pain, I had no sense of perspective and I literally…LITERALLY…did not care what happened to me, him or anybody in the way. It was like there was an anger inside of me, a beast, that would explode from out of no where…I was always the guy who felt so bad, honestly, about what was said and done… afterward…but it was always afterward…once that switch was flipped that was it.

Now, that was 10-15 years ago. That was when I was a teen and in my very early 20’s…I’d say by the time I was 21 those explosions were over with. Not to say that I have not gotten mad, real mad, VERY mad since then… I have still do. But I have a better control…FAR better control of that impulse to destroy than I did then. About a year and a half ago I came close to those days…my pregnant sister in law was being physically threatened and The Hulk was nearly aroused from his long slumber…but even that initial arousal was enough to intermediate and defuse that situation…and I let The Hulk go back to sleep…10 years ago I would not have turned him away. Do you see the difference? I controlled him…I didn’t cuss and freak out…my indignation was righteous and I don’t regret the way I handled that situation a year and a half ago.

So I’ve been thinking that this beast…The Hulk…was under my control…that situation a year and a half ago assured me that I didn’t have to unleash him…that he was my subject. God has done such a deep work in me these 10 years…many of you reading this might even find all of this hard to believe. And it’s not an act…if it were an act The Hulk would have exploded during that situation a year and a half ago…believe that.

These types of confrontations have not happened to me in 10 years or more. I have found that people who look for fights find them…and that scene got old for me real quick…and so I have not been in any kind of situation like this in, as I said, 10 years or more.

That is why I’m amazed at how quickly that anger, the beast…The Hulk…almost exploded, without warning on that guy last Friday night. Naomi could tell that Gary was fading real quick as I quickly stopped myself as I was sitting and stood back up. That guy could tell as well…because as I stood back up I think I saw him swallow real hard. You see…it was dark and I was getting into my car…he probably didn’t get a good look at me before I tapped his car. He started yelling and cussing me out as he was going to get out of his car…to try and fight me I guess…but he stopped when he got a look at me.

I’ve lost a lot of weight here this year, a lot…but I’m still one big dude…and I do work out. I stood back up real quick, with a look on my face that has been called “Satanic” before… and barked “IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!” So there he sat with both feet on the ground, as if he was going to stand…but he didn’t. My car door was half opened. The pitch of his voice went up a bit as he said “well…then ^#@#&(%$ watch what you are doing…” He cussed at me again. This dude was either drunk or had a death wish or something…he actually cussed at me and threw the “f” bomb at me again!!!! I was instantly flooded with two impulses…strong impulses…so strong where those impulses that they sort of neutralized me for a split second…like my brain froze and it actually immobilized me or something…just for a second…at the same time I had an impulse to slam my door as hard as I could into his car. I wanted to hear the “BAMB” and then see what he had to say. The other impulse that I felt simultaneously was to slam my door shut and just lunge at him, Dukes of Hazard style. I could hear Naomi say, not yell…but calmly say “Gary…” my head cocked to the right and I closed my eyes, ground my teeth and clinched my fists…here comes it comes… The Hulk…and then grandpa and grandma pulled up behind us in that parking lot. That realization ended both those impulses immediately…and The Hulk hung his head…I was not going to embarrass Naomi or disrespect our grandparents in this situation. So I growled one more time “It was an ACCIDENT!” and I sat down in my car and shut the door. They drove away…and then so did we.

I did not attack that guy…I didn’t even cuss back at him. I said one phrase two times, “it was an accident.” That’s it.

Was that a victory? Well…I didn’t ruin my testimony that night…the Bible says that we can be angry and not sin. The only thing I can tell you is that my testimony was not ruined that night by the grace of God alone. I’m stunned at how quickly I let my pride nearly cost me everything I hold dear…my testimony…the influence God has given me in the lives of people…all because some dude yelled and cussed at me.

What would have happened had our grandparents not been there with us? I don’t know…they were there….God saw to that. Do you see my point? God will accomplish His will in our lives…despite ourselves. It’s a mystery…our free will and His sovereignty. All I know is that I am His…and I am His slave, His messenger, His warrior, His child…I am bought with a price and I am His…and that is final. Sometimes I try to relate this issue of our free will and His Kingship to a dog being walked by his owner on a leash. I’m sure that analogy breaks down at some point…all I know is that when I walk my dog I give him more or less freedom depending on where we are walking. He can only make decisions based upon how much rope I give him…and it varies. He can freely choose from the choices I give him. When a car is coming I draw that leash in and I basically force him to walk right next to me…and he of course fights me…but I’m in control. If I have him at the park I’ll give him all kinds of room to roam…but I’m in control of how far he can go…and he is in control of the space I allow him to wander. I know that must break down on some level…but that helps me work those issues out in my head.

Finally…I do not have to wonder about my nature. I am so fallen…here God has saved me from that situation and basically stepped in and shut me down by setting it all up to happen when our grandparents are with us…and there is in me a heart that is so thankful for that. But there is that dark place in my mind that actually regrets not slamming my car door into his…I’ve actually thought about it, played it all out in my head and regretted it this week at times…can you even believe that? There is that pride in me that thinks “man…I should have slammed my car door into his…and then beat that jerk into oblivion…”

I am a sinner saved only by His grace…I follow Him only by His grace…I stay on the path only by His grace…I obey Him…only…by…His…grace….

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-9 niv


Topher said...

Man how many times have I been here. I know that it may get alittle easier with time but I constantly deal with the temptation to "HULK" up. Especially in my line of work. Man Gary keep up th great work and continue to let God use you!

Karen :0) said...

You are such an AWESOME story teller. You give great picture references...I could literally see you (in my mind).

As far as you regretting not doing regret not sinning?
God ALWAYS gives us a way out when we are tempted to sin, because that's the last thing He wants us to do. Self! What a testimony.

irreverend fox said...


Karen...yep...there have been times this week that I have regretted not sinning that night...I've regretted at times not punching that guys' lights out...which goes to remind me that I am a sinner saved only by grace.

thanks for your encouraging words Karen!