Bullies Hell-Bent on Hate

Taken From:
Chapter One "Indictment

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

What a horrific commotion! Chanting and foot-stomping in the back rows, rippling like a contagious rash through the pulsating mass of fidgety teenagers. Gum and candy wrappers wadded up and thrown by slouching youths with comatose faces. All the frazzled principal could do was stare down at his podium and shake his head helplessly.

Coach Ed Miller was seated in the front row. Seeing Mr. Tyson’s plight, the massive athlete bounded onto the stage to restore order. Noticeably peeved, he shouted into the microphone: “Y’all hush up now, or we’ll cancel the pep rally and let the Red Barons win!”

A ripple of silence spread all around the auditorium. Coach Miller was the only adult on campus who could command any semblance of respect. One look at his square-jawed frown let the kids know he meant business. They didn’t want to fall out of the good graces of their football hero.

“Thanks, Ed,” whimpered the relieved principal.

The coach’s growl was low and menacing: “Don’t mess with me. She was kin to me. Say it or else!”

Mr. Tyson’s buckling knees could barely support him. He cleared his throat, staring above the heads of the snickering students, many of whom reclined languidly in their seats, taking in the pathetic scene with brazen smirks on their impudent faces.

If only his introductory statement had been dumbed down for his asinine audience. Maybe he would have drawn a more enthusiastic response.

Weakly he began: “As you all know, a great tragedy has just struck our school.”

Coarse, ribald laughter rocked the assembly hall. Mr. Tyson’s plea for calm only made it worse.

“SHUT UP!” bellowed Coach Miller, supporting the principal around the shoulders. “Please continue, Mr. Tyson. Don’t you pay those idiots no mind.”

Knowing that he had the backing of the popular coach, the principal gave him a feeble smile of thanks, and resumed his lecture. “Ahem! Betty Bigelow, a sophomore, passed away two days ago. Cause of death was diagnosed as suicide. Apparently she fell two stories from the top of the science building. She suffered massive internal injuries and numerous fractures. She died in intensive care three hours after being admitted to the hospital. Only through...ahem!...her faith in a ‘higher power’ did she find a peace in death which she’d never found in life.” Mr. Tyson’s heart was palpitating wildly. Had he finally strayed beyond the sacrosanct boundaries of “Political Correctness”?

The principal peered down at his prepared statement. To heck with what the coach thinks, he thought. I’d better mollify my position a bit. I’m already in big trouble for violating the Separation of Church and State.With his next words, his timid voice rose in pitch and cracked: “Ah...why didn’t Betty Bigelow achieve peace in her day-to-day life? Nobody will ever solve that enigma.”

Coach Miller knew waffling when he heard it. “Give me that mike!” he demanded. I’ll tell ‘em why, if you ain’t got the guts to do it!”

The assembly held its collective breath. This just might be interesting.
It was evident to everyone that the coach was in a grumpy mood. “Now hear this!” he roared, pointing toward a cluttered aisle, strewn with wadded litter. “I’m sick and tired of this sorry bunch, always throwin’ their garbage around, like this was a hogpen! Y’all are just a herd of cows chewin’ your cuds!

“YOU!” he roared at Ray Huxton, captain of the football squad. “Git that gum outa your mouth, boy! If I EVER see you chewin’ gum in assembly again, I’m bustin’ you down to water boy!”

The crowd loved it. The former drill sergeant was one tough dude, a pillar of power. Grudgingly Ray removed his gum and stuck it under his seat.
The coach shook his head. “Ain’t no discipline in schools no more. Used to be, my daddy said, a kid could git ten licks with the Board of Education just for chewin’ gum in class. ”

“Hey, Coach!” called a lanky boy reclining in the second row. “How big did you say the holes in them paddles was?”

Once the din died down, the coach replied: “Big enough to burn up your britches, boy!”

He felt a tug at his wrist. “Ed,” whispered Mr. Tyson, “why the comedy routine? Stick to your topic, please.”

“Mr. Tyson, please go sit down. I’m big enough to finish my speech by myself.”

Once the principal was seated, Coach Miller said: “Mr. Tyson seems to think I’ve forgotten my reason for bein’ up here. But my point is this: “ Nowadays, nobody worries much about litter in the aisles or gum chewin’ anymore. After all, why sweat small stuff like that when there’s bigger crimes out there to call the cops on?”

Those words drew a variety of whispered responses, and many looks of puzzlement.

“As you all know, I grew up on a cattle ranch in West Texas. I remember there was an old outhouse on our spread.”

Pandemonium broke out. Mr. Tyson looked sick. “Cut it out!” bellowed Coach Miller. “I’m tryin’ to teach y’all somethin’!”

The hellacious din finally subsided enough for the coach to continue. “Well, anyhow, that outhouse was there for the benefit of the ranch hands. After a while, we got modern facilities installed in the bunkhouse. One day, old Jake wanted to save himself a few steps and went back into the old men’s room. But he came a-flyin’ out of that place, a-hollerin’ like he was on fire. Wasps were a-chasin’ him, and he got bit real bad. After that, nobody ever wanted to use it again.”

The students were in a very merry mood now. Their sides ached, they laughed so hard. The thunderstruck principal was much too stunned to question the coach’s train of thought. Once the latest laugh fest died down, the coach resumed his discourse.

“We knew that privy was a magnet for every hornet in the county, but we never did tear it down and fill in...ahem!” he caught himself, fearing he’d gone too far over the edge of good taste.

It was some moments before he could pick up where he left off, the din was so deafening. The vice principal turned to Mr. Tyson. “What an idiot, Clarence. It doesn’t take many brains to gain rapport with those kind of kids.”

“You should give Ed more credit, Jim,” stammered Mr. Tyson, eyeing the stage nervously. “His methods are a bit unorthodox, but I believe he’s trying to build bridges of goodwill to help everyone put this tragedy behind them and go on.”

Indeed, the kids were in a buoyant mood now. They’d always loathed assemblies before. Usually, they were dry, dull affairs, presided over by starchy characters with deadpan faces. But now they were savoring every word. “Hey, coach,” inquired the loudmouth in the second row, “where’d he git bit?”

“Never you mind!” scolded Coach Miller. “Now you listen here, boy, I’m dead serious. Lamebrains that we were, we just left that thing sit there. We didn’t even bother to spray the wasps’ nests. We were just too chicken to open the door...” he was drowned out. My, but he was connecting.

At last the clamor calmed, and he could drive home his punch line. “There’s always a price to pay for failin’ to clean out the wasp nests of life. One day, one of our newborn calves wandered away from its mama. It was a frisky little critter, and didn’t think where it was goin’. It just liked to run free.

Anyhow, it ran smack dab into that old outhouse and shook the daylights out of it. Well, those old wasps inside of it were in an ornery mood that day. They got all riled up. They all lit out after that poor little calf and chased him clear across the cow pasture.

“Now anybody’s got sense enough to steer clear of barbed wire. But when YELLOW JACKETS are chasin’ you, you go crazy and can’t see where you’re runnin’ to!”

At the mention of the team name, an angry buzzing swept through the auditorium. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a fun assembly after all.


Taken From:
Chapter Two
Light Amid Shadows

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).

A Minister Faces Some Difficult Questions.

The overwrought father released a floodgate of tears. “Oh, I KNOW she wouldn’t, but I wish she’d come back to those who love her!”

Reverend Hawthorne continued: “Jesus did raise a man from the dead, Mr. Bigelow. His name was Lazarus. He’d been in his grave four days. His sisters pleaded with Christ to restore Lazarus to them. He did this for them to demonstrate God’s power over death itself, and His love to the people.”
“The shortest verse in the Bible is also one of the most mysterious: ‘Jesus wept.’ Why did He weep, Mr. Bigelow, if He knew He would be able to raise His beloved friend from the dead?”

“Oh, I don’t know, preacher, you tell me,” the poor man sighed.

“Now this is strictly my own opinion, Mr. Bigelow. Lazarus was, prior to his resurrection, resting in the Paradise of the Righteous with all the saints who’d gone on before him. He was finally free of the sickness which killed him. No longer was he beset by earthly sorrows.

“Jesus knew that Lazarus would be raised; not to immortality, but to continue life in an imperfect mortal body. It was not yet God’s chosen time to bestow incorruptible bodies upon the righteous dead. Lazarus would have to die again someday. In all likelihood he would face persecution, maybe even martyrdom, for Jesus’ sake.

“Lazarus was reunited with friends and family who loved him. But he was also reunited with enemies who didn’t love him or his Savior_the self-righteous religious leaders of the Jewish nation, who would later conspire to have Jesus crucified. As news spread of Christ’s power to raise the dead, people believed in Him more and more. After all, Lazarus was walking, talking evidence of Christ’s own divinity. The religious rulers plotted to put not only our Lord to death to silence His ministry, but Lazarus as well.”

Sighing, Mr. Bigelow conceded, “She’s better off where she is. Nobody can hurt her ever again. I’ve got to make peace with that somehow. I’ve got to go on, whether I like it or not. I’ve got a cause to devote my life to now. A hopeless one, though,” he added bitterly.

Reverend Hawthorne had dealt with plenty of grief throughout his long ministry. but the story behind this grief was one of the most tragic he’d ever encountered.

Compassionately, yet emphatically, he encouraged the heartbroken father: “A righteous cause might seem to be already lost and those who fight for it few, but take heart. THE GOD OF SCRIPTURE IS THE GOD OF LOST CAUSES.”


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