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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Persuasion (not about the book) (09/01/11)

TITLE: It's Your Choice
By Joey Parker
09/07/11


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While working as a patrolman, I responded to a dispute between a husband and wife. Three of us responded to find the husband angry, the wife distraught, and the children huddled in a bedroom.

Being the senior officer, I walked the wife into a separate room while my two partners spoke with the husband. The bruises on her body told the story.
As I was speaking to her, I heard her husband yell in the other room so I intervened.

“What’s the problem, sir?” His eyes were reflecting a mixture of both anger and fear. My officers were standing to either side of him and with looks of determination and anticipation for the scuffle that appeared to be unavoidable.

He looked to me and said, “You are not going to take me to jail.” As if he said it enough, it’d come true. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t his decision.

When I looked at him, I had a choice to make. Like him, I was a big man. I had two other officers with me and we had the tools and training to take him to jail whether he wanted to go or not. Pride reared up within me as I considered showing him what I was going to do. After all, I had the authority and the means to put him in his place.

However, another voice spoke up. This was a voice of reason and experience. It spoke to me in remembrance that more can be accomplished through treating all with respect and patience. I could have forced this man into compliance but, in the long run, that wouldn’t help this situation. I took a breath before speaking.

I looked him in the eye and spoke to him in a very calm but authoritative voice. A tone that let him know that I was in control but also respected both who he was and his place within that household. I said to him, “Sir, you will be going to jail tonight. That is no longer the issue. I will be placing you under arrest but you have a choice to make. You can choose to fight us but we will handcuff you, drag you out to my car, and take you to jail. On the other hand, you can choose to accept the situation for what it is. You can allow me to handcuff you and walk with you out to my car.”

I had his full attention. My tone as well as my words were speaking to him and I could sense the situation was starting to resolve itself but I wasn’t finished. “Sir, you have children. They are going to be watching how you handle this. They can watch their father yell, kick, and scream before being forcefully thrown into a police car or they can see him calmly accept what’s happening and walk out of here like a man. That image will last a lot longer than anything else that happens here and will affect how they see you for the rest of their lives.”

I paused to allow him time to process all of this before finishing. “Either way, you are going to jail. The question is how you are going to go.”

Nothing else was said as we waited for his answer. After watching him think for a few moments, he nodded to me and turned his back so I could cuff him.

I’ve run into him several times over the years since that incident. He worked it out with his wife and they are still together. Whenever I see him, we shake hands and speak affably to one another.

I’m not sharing this to demonstrate how outstanding I am. This was one triumph amongst a hundred failures but it brings to mind the lesson given to us in Proverbs 15:18 which says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up conflict, but a man slow to anger calms strife.” If I had left my pride overwhelm me, I would have won the battle but not the war. By remaining calm, I was victorious beyond my expectations.

Too often we let winning the immediate fight cause us to lose in the long run. We overwhelm our children, spouses, and others with a hot-tempered response that gets us our immediate results but at the cost of their respect, love, and appreciation.

Don’t lose the war for the sake of the battle.

After all, it’s your choice.


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This article has been read 354 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/09/11
This is a great story and so true. In life we must choose our battles. You held my attention from beginning to end and did an outstanding job with this topic.
CD Swanson 09/09/11
Nice job. I really enjoyed this powerful story. God Bless~
Virgil Youngblood 09/09/11
Well written, on topic with a fitting title: well done.
Linda Goergen09/10/11
I have to admit, feelings I didn’t care for welled up in me as I began to read, myself being a victim of physical abuse from my alcoholic first husband and I was not much interested in you showing kindness to this man that beat and bruised up his wife… but reading the ending I see how right you were and undoubtedly led by the Holy Spirit. If this is based on a true story I am so glad the man changed, so many do not. Your story has a lot of wisdom within!
Theresa Santy 09/13/11
Great example of persuasion. (I have found this same method of persuasion to be rather effective on children.)
Loren T. Lowery09/14/11
I think your writing allowed you to tell this story very well. I liked the way it flowed and the voice of the MC came across exactly as the narrative should be. I didn't find the message "preachy" in the least, but rather humble which lead to a good teaching moment. Nice job!
Patricia Protzman09/14/11
Great job with the theme topic. My daughter worked as a police officer for a few years and used to tell me about the many abusive situations she ran up against. She said it often helped to keep a cool head to prevent further "explosions" of temper.
Patricia Protzman09/15/11
Congratulations on a well deserved win.
CD Swanson 09/15/11
Congratulations on your win. God Bless~
Irene Patterson 09/17/11
I struggled with this. My husband and I mentor some that have gone through scenarios just as you described.

I often wonder why there are so many men that rage, and control their families with their anger. The wounds they inflict take years to find healing. Sometimes the healing never comes.

I appreciate your approach to this offender, and your words of wisdom to him that "persuaded" him to accept his fate calmly. That the story ends with reconciliation and success is so encouraging. Would that this were the case more often.

Congratulations on your 3rd place win. What a thrill!
Jennifer Suchey09/26/11
This story goes directly with my Bible Study in James right now. We're talking about holding the tongue and being slow to speak.

I notice you didn't specify which Bible translation you quoted. I just recently discovered it's one of the Challenge rules.

Nice story telling, as usual. :)