Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CLUMSY (04/11/19)
- TITLE: Guarding the Gate
By Yvonne Blake
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His father compared his toy fort to their minds. “You’ve got to guard your gates, Son. These gates should keep the enemy out, the eye and ear gates. But this gate, the mouth gate, needs to guard against letting wrong words out. Words can be dangerous. Don’t let them get past the walls of your teeth and lips. Once loose, you can never call them back.”
Words tripped him up almost every day. Sometimes they just ran past his teeth walls and out the lip gate before he hardly knew they were there.
This morning, Sissy took the last of the Sugar Nuggets, and Mom gave him Nutri-Nibbles instead. He didn’t even try to stop the piercing words that flew out. “You took all the cereal on purpose! You’re a poophead!” He even hurled some ugly ones at his mom. “You’re a mean mom. I hate you!”
After sitting in the laundry room for ten minutes, Trent regretted those words –especially when he had to eat his soggy cereal alone. Even then, he could feel more sharp words running about inside his head. He felt like a bottle of ginger ale. When he got shook up, all those words fizzed up until they spewed out all over everything!
Trent tried to be good, but it was so hard. Once, when he hadn’t done his arithmetic paper all week, he cleverly created a story. “Miss Veris, on the way to school, the wind blew my paper way up high.”
Once the lies began, it was harder and harder for Trent to create reasonable excuses. He felt like the words were tying a rope around and around him like a bunch of wild gremlins. His head hurt and his chest tightened. He felt like he was going to pass out in front of everybody.
“Trent, those are lies, aren’t they?”
With the relief of an honest confession, Trent sat in the principal’s office, thinking over his problem. It reminded him of putting all of Daisy’s puppies in a box. As fast as he caught one wiggly pup, two more scampered in the other direction.
Trent decided that he just wouldn’t say anything. For the next two days, he didn’t stumble once. He only answered when asked a question. Then on Saturday, those words knocked him flat on his face.
It was the last baseball game of the season. He cheerfully ate breakfast and got dressed and was even kind to Sissy. He thought he had put his glove in his closet, but it wasn’t there. He looked under his bed, in his toy box, in all the rooms –even in the laundry room. He looked in the backyard and on the porch. There it was – in Daisy’s box. She had it between her paws. The laces were torn, and teeth marks dotted the leather.
“Daisy, that’s my glove!” Trent grabbed at the mangled leather. The beagle tugged back, shaking her head with delight. “Let go! That’s mine, you stupid, bad dog!” Daisy’s head drooped, and she slunk away with her tail between her legs. Trent chased her, swinging the slobbery glove at her.
Dad wrapped his arm around him. “Stop! It’s not Daisy’s fault that you misplaced your glove.”
Sitting on the steps, Trent poured out his frustrations. “Dad, I can’t do it. It’s like all these bad thoughts go wild inside me. I wish I had a new mind that didn’t even want to think hurtful things.”
With gentle words, Dad told how Jesus could do just that – how He could give him a new heart, a clean heart, a loving heart. He told how God’s Spirit could help control his thoughts and temper. With tears of repentance, Trent asked the Lord for forgiveness and help in guarding his heart.
Trent wiped off his glove and decided to make it a good day. Their team batted, threw, caught, and ran as they were taught. The lead scores went back and forth. In the last inning, two players were on base with Trent at bat. He grounded to left field. The outfielder flung the ball to the pitcher, who shot it home. The catcher tagged Trent on his possible winning run. Trent could almost feel a little guard slamming the gate shut when an angry word tried to slip out.
Their team had lost the game, but Trent was doing a happy dance in his heart.
Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the mediations of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.”
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