When Carlos Mayid heard a man’s desperate screams coming from a lake near his central Florida home in the wee hours of the morning, he grabbed his cell phone and went to investigate. What he found was a forty-five year-old man in waist deep water with his arm clamped in the jaws of an 11-foot-9-inch, 600-pound alligator.
Oh yes, the man also happened to be stark naked.
Mayid immediately called 911 and officers came and rescued the man, who ended up with a broken left arm and a right arm that was hanging only by a tendon. Later that same day, state wildlife authorities trapped and euthanized the gator, which is standard procedure when an animal attacks humans.*
As soon as I read that story, I had a question.
How on earth did this happen? How did a man end up stark naked in the jaws of a 600-pound alligator in the middle of the night? I mean, seriously, it would be pretty hard to get yourself into a mess like that, wouldn’t it?
As always, there was a logical explanation.
The man confessed that he had gone to the lake to smoke crack cocaine and fell asleep at the water’s edge.
In times of trouble, one of the most important questions you can ask is “How?”
How did this happen?
How did I end up in this mess?
How did I get here?
Any question starting with that little 3-letter word is bound to teach you something important…if you’re courageous enough to answer it honestly.
The problem is, we often aren’t courageous enough to answer it honestly. When the jury of your heart suggests that the primary culprit’s picture can be found on your driver’s license, you will be tempted to shift into full excuse mode.
Don’t do it!
The best chance you have of avoiding trouble in the future is to take full responsibility for your actions today. Even if doing so makes you feel like a fool, go ahead and ‘fess up. Most people are going to know the truth anyway, and they’ll have a lot more respect for you if you’re honest.
For further reflection read Galatians 6:7, Proverbs 13:20-21.
*The Orlando Sentinel, December 1, 2006