Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:26
I think I have figured it out. From the time I could remember my mom always told me, “Dewayne, I think you are going to be six feet tall when you grow up.” I believe she based that on the fact that I kinda looked like my brother Joe and he was somewhere near that. Anyway, I grew up with the expectation that I would, well, grow up. Somewhere, something got lost in the translation.
The bottom line is for all of my life I have been slightly height challenged. Now, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was apparent early on that mom had misjudged the gene pool. Unless a miracle was on the horizon the height expectations needed to be lowered…a lot. By the time I was in the eighth grade I was still about 5”6”. I had managed to lose some of my roundness but I just came up short (pun intended) on the height deal. Too bad I wasn’t born a couple of thousand years ago. Back then, I would almost be tall.
When I was in the ninth grade, I was at the top of the pecking order grade wise. In Florida high school didn’t start till tenth grade so we ninth graders were the kings of the junior high campus…even if you were a tad short. One day in class the teacher stepped out of the room. A guy I knew, and he might have even been a friend, grabbed my pencil and said he was going to break it. “Don’t do it, man” I said in my deepest, tallest voice. He kept threatening to break it and I kept threatening to break him. He broke it and I exploded.
Now before we go on you need to know I was a pretty compliant kid. I am a conflict avoidance adult, and I was a conflict avoidance kid. Something just snapped. I flipped the table over on him, put him in a head hold and proceeded to teach him not to break my pencil. Can someone said, “Stupid?” Well, the teacher walks in, someone breaks up the fight and we get a free trip to the principal’s office. Judgement was swift and right to the seat of the problem. Two swats a day for five days administered by the athletic director. He was not five-six.
So, for the next five days I was to report first thing in the morning to his office, bend over and grab my ankles and two hard swats. Pow—pow. Swift, powerful, and man did they hurt. And they worked. I always left with a strong desire to join the Peace Corps. I never got into another fight. Break my pencil? Sure, go right ahead. I have a spare. I always wondered what sparked that outburst. I think I know. It was short man syndrome or SMS.
I found out that SMS is “an angry male of below average height who feels it necessary to act out in an attempt to gain respect and recognition from others and compensate for his short stature.” I’m pretty sure that is what happened that day. I was wanting some respect and was willing to act stupid to get it. Did I mention two swats a day for five days? So, that week, about day three and swat number six I got over my syndrome and a chunk of my anger. I was just fine at 5’6”. Fortunately, the Lord gave me a couple of more inches and I ended up at a respectable 5’8”. However, I think I am back down to five-seven now. You know, the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Smile.
I really did learn a valuable lesson that day. You should never, and I mean never, let your anger get the best of you. Anger is not a sin when it is controlled and directed in the right direction. Jesus got angry at the people who were abusing His Father’s house. The problem isn’t anger—the problem is control—or lack of it. Paul wrote about this when he said, “Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” Keep your temper tame and don’t let it simmer over night. It’s great for a pork butt but terrible for anger. And every time we don’t, we give Satan the opportunity to win. And, when he wins…we lose. Every time.
So, I’ve learned to be happy where I am. I think 5’8” or 5’7” is just about right. I’m still taller than Judy and she thinks I’m tall, or at least tallish, dark, and handsome. Also, I’m learning not to lose it because I always lose when I do. And, I am learning to trust in Him. If someone breaks my pencil, I’m learning to let God handle it. It’s much better than visiting the coach every morning for five days. There’s something else. I found out that when I’m not facing the coach in the morning, I rest better…especially in Him. I fall to sleep knowing, “He’s got this.” And He does. Bro. Dewayne