“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” James D. Miles

I saw this on Facebook. It brought back memories. In my former church, the men were expected to be “manly”… to laugh and be tough if others or themselves were hurt. One of the first indications I had that something was dreadfully wrong with my former pastor was that he sat and laughed while his son poked the eyes out of a live frog, then impaled the still living frog on a stick and continued playing with it. Both were laughing. The thought of it still turns my stomach.

Blood doesn’t bother me. Cruelty does. If he’d killed the frog and disemboweled it, I wouldn’t have been surprised. It was that the frog was still alive while he continued to abuse it that disgusted me.

I think of that situation that night several years ago, see this picture and quote, and think of the men I now know. Men who seem gentle and kind, who don’t see those as weakness or effeminate characteristics, but as strength, and as the fruit of the spirit.

For so many years I listened while my former pastor told me there was something wrong with me. I prayed that “something” would change, that whatever was wrong wouldn’t be anymore. And for years it seemed like I lived in fear that I would end up leaving or being kicked out and do my best to stay. It’s weird to wake up and realize that all the time you prayed for something, you fought the answer to the prayer. It’s strange to realize that I asked God to fix whatever was “wrong with me”, not realizing that the thing that was most wrong was that I would stay in that environment to begin with.

I’m thankful that God answers prayers… even when we don’t know what we’re asking, and even when we don’t want or are scared of the answer we’re given. He does know what’s best for us, He does care for us, and He did answer my prayers.