Put Up Your Dukes!

Scripture:  Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

 In the middle playground, a group of students gathered quickly after classes were over. They had heard through the grapevine that Raman was going to fight someone. Because Raman was a feared bully, they knew he would win and blood would flow but, who was the other kid for today’s match?

Earlier in the day, some kids who liked to stir up trouble, heard that Malik would not fight, and told Raman that Malik was going to beat him up after school! So, after school, holding Malik under his arms, the two boys marched him out of the school building and over to the waiting circle of anxious onlookers. Malik could see one kid drawing a circle in the dirt with a stick. In the circle, the boys placed Malik to stand alone. Soon, someone yelled, “Here comes Raman!” Raman approached, trying to appear to be the angriest, meanest kid, just ready to do battle with anyone who dared.

“Where is he?” Malik could hear him asking as Raman approached the crowd. When Raman stood inside the circle with him, the crowd got very quiet. Raman had his fists up in front of him and was making loud breathing noises, as though he was just itching to get started and to get this over as quickly as possible. “You, Malik?” “Yes,” Malik answered, looking directly into his eyes. “You want to fight me, Malik?” “No.” Raman grinned, “Well, you’re gonna! Put up your dukes!” Malik left both arms down, straight by his sides. Raman started his loud breathing noises again to show he was just seething. “I said, ‘Put up your dukes!'” Malik looked at Raman and was slightly amused at his noises. Although Malik’s knees were shaking, he remained calm when he spoke. “Jesus said it’s not right to fight anyone.”

Frustrated, Raman answered firmly, “You’re just chicken. That’s what you are, just chicken! Now, put up your dukes! I’m going to whup you right here.” Malik’s arms did not come up, and his hands remained open. With the same calm voice, he said to Raman, “I don’t know if I am chicken or not, but I won’t put up my dukes.”

“You not gonna fight me?” “No,” Malik again said calmly. “What if I get in the first lick? Whadda ya think about that?” Malik answered, “Maybe you will knock my teeth out, or knock me down, or something.” “You think you’ll fight me then?” Raman asked. “I don’t know; maybe I will be so angry I will, but let me ask you something.” Raman’s fists got tighter and his arms moved closer to his chin. Cautiously, he asked, “What?” “Why did you let all these kids put you up to this? They stand here laughing at the mean kid they got to fight the chicken. They don’t have any respect for you, and you sure don’t want any of them to be your friends. They don’t think that you can talk except with your fists, but, as long as my arms stay down, I know you are not going to fight me. You’ve taken too long. That tells me that you fight fair. We need to stop this right now, be friends and let this crowd stop playing with your mind.” Raman looked long at Malik without making a sound — no heavy breathing, no words, nothing. Not once did his eyes turn to anyone else’s. Then he dropped his left arm to his side, and with his right, he opened his fist and, without a smile, he proudly offered his hand to Malik and said, “We are friends!”

One can only imagine how disappointed some of the troublemakers in that crowd were immediately after “the fight,” or how very proud Malik was of Raman, or how proud Malik’s parents were that evening when he told them what happened on the playground after school that day.

We encounter bullies every day, we can fight, or we can run or we can be like Malik and be like Jesus. Who told us to treat people the way we want to be treated. When you are a friend to someone who has no friends, or stand up for those who are being mistreated, you are loving your neighbor. Remember that you might be the first representative of Jesus someone meets. It is called planting seeds and who knows, one day that seed might grow into one of you brothers or sisters in Christ, just because you were kind.

Memory Verse:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)


Published on July 28, 2012 at 1:34 am  Leave a Comment  

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