Without counsel we are no better than the worst images we see in others
“Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” —Proverbs 15:22
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
I would ask that when you read this piece, that you would understand that the Department of Corrections(DOC) can be any controlling entity which incarcerates one’s ability to be led by the Holy Spirit.—–Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
Sometimes friends can be the most difficult to understand and the hardest to love. I overheard a conversation between two close friends as they shared some of their deepest feelings, and this was not the first of such encounters between the friends.
It was obvious to me that one of them wasn’t aware of how he was projecting a lifestyle of his incarceration, and the other one had grown weary of his friend’s unwillingness to address the concerns.
As a Black man in America, I know that I’m not the only one who has seen, heard or participated in conversations likened to this one that have involved family members, very close friends and barbershop encounters of such.
After very heated conversations and demeaning tirades from each, the conversation later developed like this:
One said, “It was revealed to me …you only see me as a DOC (Department of Correction) number. Why? I paid my dues.”
The other retorted, “My friend and my brother. I thought about our conversation and I prayed for my anger towards you. We all have our differences which may not be liked by others. And if you think that I only see you as a DOC number, maybe you should ask yourself if this is how you’re presenting yourself. I can only see what you show me. If what you are showing me is that which you have learned to be over the many years that you wore a DC number, then yes, that is what I see, but that is not all I see.”
The friend without the DOC number was trying to tell his friend that there is more to him than his incarceration experience, but that was all he was broadcasting. He went on to offer his friend to talk with others to see if they saw or experienced him in the same or similar perception.
The dialogue had taken a turn for the worse because the friend that wore the DOC number had not owned his part of the conflict. He was or it appeared that he was in charge and controlling the conversation from the beginning to the outcome he wanted.
“Have you looked in the mirror and what do you see: nothing but plastic ! I think you call them plastic N-words. I am a king.”
Being an outgoing, domineering, obstinate and a loving person can be overbearing and to have this type of personality reinforced by the need to survive behind prison walls can create a rude, overbearing and belligerent person.
Yet, on the other hand, if his friend does not understand this, what you will have is a lighter and gasoline mixture that only needs the air of a heated conversation to cause an explosion of emotions that will leave a friendship in ruins.
My suggestions to all of us who have experienced or who have loved ones that have been in controlled conditions where their control of situations in those conditions were extremely limited is to seek some counseling.
To find out God’s itinerary for your existence, be sensible, seek out several possibilities for guidance; from beginning to end, if you ask, God will bring His guiding wisdom. When we search for that special gift of advice from others, we show our understanding that we don’t know everything and could be overlooking some vital aspects in our resolutions.
The 15th century theologian, Thomas à Kempis said, “Who is so wise as to have perfect knowledge of all things? Therefore, trust not too much to your own opinion, but be ready also to hear the opinions of others. Though your own opinion be good, yet if for the love of God you forego it and follow that of another, you shall the more profit thereby.” Thomas recognized the importance of seeking the opinions of trusted advisors when making plans for life.
“ Dear God, in the name of Jesus, please give me the courage to ask of others who care for me the truth of how I am seen when I am being tried. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
WITH GOD YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOOK AND ACT LIKE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH
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