Oh! The Troubles I’ve Seen #2 (Letter 4)

Dear Y.B.M.:

The second trouble that I brought upon myself during my young years was loving many young women and using women for all the wrong reasons. Dear brother, when God made women, He made something! To me, there is nothing on God’s green earth more beautiful than “phat” women. Nothing! (For the ebonically challenged, “phat” means very fine.)

I am now an out and out Christian man; I am an ordained minister of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; I pray and read the Bible every day; I have been married for over twenty-seven years now to my first and only wife. But I don’t think I will ever get over God’s handiwork of the second and third quarters of a woman’s body. Most men, if they are honest, will tell you that their greatest struggle in life is the same struggle that David and Samson experienced—”phat” women folk. We criticize Adam for casting all of humanity toward the gates of hell, but the fact of the matter is, if we had seen the first, second, and third quarters of the naked body of Eve, not only would we have eaten the apple, we would have eaten the entire tree and then we would have helped to plant another one. You know I am right about that.

Be that as it may, the truth of the matter is, men who violate the Word of God by having sex with women they are not married to will pay for doing so. Look at King David and Bathsheba — God took away the son who was born to them out of their sin, and trouble never left his household. Samson’s lust for women caused him to get deceived by a beautiful but conniving woman named Delilah, and he ended up with his eyes plucked out and he lost his life.

You may ask, why do I have to pay for having sex with a woman I am not married to? Notice what God says in His Holy Word on this matter.

I Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

I Corinthians 7:1 says, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”

Suffice it to say that every time, not just some of the time, but every time I had sex with a woman I was not married to, it was great while it lasted, but trouble and problems followed the pleasure. Millions can testify to the fact found in Proverbs 9:17: “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But the trouble comes double.

Now, I have never been the romantic type. I am not naturally inclined to try to win a girl by buying her candy or flowers, taking her out on expensive dates, or buying her expensive gifts. But I have found other ways to win women over. Since I have never been the “sweet” type, I have never been hurt by a woman. In other words, I have never been “played” by a woman. Unlike Samson of old, I have never given my heart to a woman. I just don’t roll like that. I never considered any one girl my girlfriend even though she may have thought she was my girlfriend. In fact, I was seeing more than one girl at any given time when I was younger. That being the case, I have never held any bitterness or animosity toward women folk.

Like Samson, however, I “loved” women too much and all for the wrong reasons. The truth is, I didn’t love women for who they were, but for what I could get from them. When I got what I wanted from them—which was sex—trouble always followed.

You ask what kind of trouble followed?

1. After a period of casual sex, the relationship would begin to sour. It began to sour because even though she was giving me what I wanted, I had no intentions on giving her what she wanted, which was commitment, love, and affection.

2. If the young woman became pregnant, that created another set of problems, which are self-explanatory.

One problem came up that haunts me to this very day—and it has been over thirty years now since it happened. I was seeing one girl for sex repeatedly. To be honest, we were having a lot of fun together—until she got pregnant. We were very young—about fifteen-years-old. We both decided that it would be best to get an abortion. Somehow, I came up with the money and she and I went down to the doctor’s office and had the baby aborted. For some strange reason, the doctor wrapped the aborted baby in a napkin and gave it to her. Once we got in front of her house, we both looked at the aborted baby boy after which we placed him in the woods across the street from her home. Believe it or not, we both continued having sex and we did not stop until I got one of her best friends pregnant. Fortunately, for this child and for our own consciences, her girlfriend kept the baby.

Later in life, after I got saved, I learned that what that young woman and I did was murder an innocent child. Every now and then, I think about that baby buried in the woods across the street from her house, and the guilt and shame is painful.

The moral of that story, if you will, is: when you break God’s law, God’s law has a tendency to break you.

Again, remember this verse in Galatians 6:7: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

3. The third type of trouble that follows sex outside of marriage is that even if you actually have children out of wedlock and things do not work out between you and the baby’s mother, as a father, you will suffer the pain and heartache of not having the privilege of loving and raising those children especially as you grow older. Every now and then you will feel guilt and shame regarding that.

4. The fourth type of trouble you will run into is, very simply, baby mama drama. Some women will try to use your children against you in an attempt to get money from you or to get you to stay with them or marry them. They will often try to control the relationship by telling you that you cannot see your children if you do not do things their way. This is trouble you can and should avoid.

So, young black man, do not have sex outside of marriage because trouble is sure to come.

Numbers 32:23 says, “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.”

Avoiding More Trouble,


P.T.: Power Thoughts

John Dewey said, “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”

Jerry Falwell said, “Any sex outside of the marriage bond between a man and a woman is violating God’s law.”

Someone once said, “When trouble calls on you, call on God.”

Oh! The Troubles I’ve Seen #1 (The Brother’s Keeper)

Dear Y.B.M.:

Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” Boy, Job got that right!

Jesus said in John 16:33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Some years ago, I preached a sermon titled “Songs in the Night.” In that sermon, I brought up the idea of God-ordained troubles and self-imposed troubles. Well, I have had some of both, but in this letter I am going to mainly deal with self-imposed troubles. In other words, I am going to deal with the troubles I brought upon myself. YBM, remember this: Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

The main trouble I brought upon myself stemmed from my bad attitude as a teenager. When I got into my early teens, I developed a very bad attitude—particularly toward my dad. I knew how to play the hate dad/love mom game very well. I don’t really know why I despised my dad so much during those days, other than the fact that he was a preacher. (But I will say this: if a father does not lead the family in the way he should, and if he does not spend quality time with his children, those children will probably grow up bitter toward him.)

Anyway, I had a really bad attitude toward my father—talking back, accusing him of abusing my mother, etc. Well, one day, I was in the bathroom with the door locked, doing my usual running off at the mouth and talking back to my dad because he wouldn’t let me have the car, or something like that. I thought I was safe with the door locked. Friend of mine, my dad got tired of my talking back, and he tore the door down and burst into the bathroom. I thought I was going to die that very hour. I thought I had seen the end of my days. Son, you can avoid a whole lot of trouble by maintaining a good and positive attitude.

Little did I know, my attitude would seep out and affect other areas of my life as well. While in high school, I carried that bad attitude on to my job with me, and even though I was the best worker on the job, my boss, Terry Buchman, got tired of putting up with my bad attitude and one day he told me never to return to the job again. That’s right, I got fired from an afterschool job. This took me by surprise seeing I was the best worker on my job at the time. This is when I learned the lesson that attitude is more important than performance. A few weeks later, I went back to Mr. Terry Buchman and apologized for my attitude. I changed my attitude, and he gave me my job back.

Now, I know this may sound trite, but it is true: “Your attitude determines your altitude”; your attitude determines how high you go in life. If you have the right attitude toward your parents, you will go very high in this life. A bad attitude toward your parents and to others in authority will bring you low.

Exodus 20:12 says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

Ephesians 6:1-3 also tells us: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

I credit an old Bible-believing preacher by the name of Charles McKinney in Biloxi, Mississippi, for helping me to get my attitude changed. He was really the first one who had the guts to consistently stand up against me and my bad attitude, and I thank God he did. I sign off…

With a New Attitude,


P.T.: Power Thoughts

Henry Ward Beecher said, “Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.”

Ann Landers said, “If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.’”

William James said, “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.”

Someone once said, “Attitude is the way you mentally look at the world around you. It is how you view your environment and your future. It is the focus you develop toward life itself.”

Edgar Watson Howe said, “The way out of trouble is never as simple as the way in.”

Oh! The Mistakes I’ve Made (Letter 2)

Dear Y.B.M.:

I hope my last letter helped you get caught up to where we are.

No one likes admitting to making mistakes, and it is amazing what lengths we go to to try and cover up our mistakes and failures. Below are three reasons why it is a waste of time to try to cover up our mistakes and failures:

1. Covering up our sins and failures never causes us to prosper. Proverbs 28:13 says: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

2. People who are not transparent rarely help other people.

3. Many people already have your number—you just don’t know that they do.

I remember while I was a student at Baptist University of America in Decatur, Georgia, we had mandatory chapel services each morning at around 11:00. We had a different preacher each chapel hour. I enjoyed most of the preachers who preached, but there was one preacher by the name of Raymond Hancock who visited regularly, and whom the entire student body loved to hear. The difference between this preacher and the other preachers was like night and day. The reason is that this preacher had the humility and ability to not only preach the Word of God, but to be transparent at the same time. It made all the difference. I learned through those chapel services that the great preachers and the preachers who help people the most are those who keep it real.

With that said, allow me to share with you some personal and painful mistakes that I made in my early years. My purpose in sharing these mistakes with you is so you would avoid them, because contrary to popular belief, some mistakes done in youth leave scars that can last a lifetime.

The first big mistake I made as a young man was having sex before marriage. I know that may sound punkish. Nevertheless, it was a big mistake. Like so many brothers, I took pride in my sexual “conquests” for a long time. But as time went on, what I was not proud of was the pain I caused so many people: the young lady I was involved with, the mothers and fathers, the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the children born out of wedlock, and the child that was aborted when I was only fifteen years old, because the mother and I, in ignorance and immaturity, thought it was the best thing to do at that time. This murdering of an innocent life haunts me even after thirty years.

THE LESSON IS THIS: I believe the real reason God forbids sex before marriage is because it hurts so many people for a long time—sometimes for a lifetime. Although sex is a lot of fun, it is far more a spiritual thing than a physical thing. I say it is more of a spiritual thing because it is only through sex that God brings another spiritual being into the world to fellowship with Him.

The second big mistake I made was not taking my early education seriously. I, like many of my school friends, had no idea how important our education was. In my mind, school was a place to tolerate, a place to skip, a place to run the girls, and a place to have fun. Oh, how I regret not taking my schooling seriously. Because I didn’t, I had to play catch up when I got older. Son, that is exactly where the system messes up young black men. Because many of us have the wrong mentality when we enter high school, and because the teachers don’t have the time nor the patience, they let us keep our playful, wrong mentality, and at the end of our high school days, they pass us on to graduate just to get rid of us—knowing that we haven’t learned anything. If you waste your high school days and still manage to graduate, it is very likely that you will not be able to handle college, because college work is built on high school work.

THE LESSON IS THIS: You will have plenty of time to play after you get your Doctorate. For now, don’t make the mistake I made of not taking school seriously. Learning is best done while your mind is young and while you can grasp things better. So, hit the books while there is still time.

The third big mistake that I made as a young man was running with the wrong crowd. The irony of this is, I was a preacher’s son. Not only was I a preacher’s son, but I had the same name as my dad, and on top of that, my dad was on television each Sunday morning with his Gospel program.

Being a preacher’s kid, I know the reason why many preachers’ kids are worse than the other kids. The preachers’ children are trying to fit in with the in-crowd. My friend, Bill, and I were big time preachers’ kids, yet we raised more hell, drank more liquor, and had more women than any of our other friends. We were the leaders of the pack. I remember one incident in which some of the children on the school bus were joking me about being a preacher’s son, and I blurted out, in an attempt to fit in, that “I am going to drive the bus to hell.” That is frightening, but I remember making that statement.

I remember on another occasion, one of my “girlfriends” and I were sitting on the front porch watching the sun go down. During the course of our conversation, she told me that I was going to be a preacher one day like my father. I don’t know what came over me, but I cursed her and I swore that I would never be a preacher. Why? Because while I was sitting on that porch with her that evening, preaching was not on my mind at all. I despised anything to do with preachers. I wanted to fit in, and preachers’ children normally do not fit in with the in-crowd.

THE LESSON IS THIS: Stop trying to be like others and be yourself. If you think you need a crowd, get with the crowd that is going to church and the crowd that is getting A’s in school. Lynn Swann said: “Why try to fit into a crowd that after you graduate from high school, you will probably never see again?”

As you will see in my next letter, I have made some more mistakes, but these are some of the big ones. Avoid these pitfalls, and you can save yourself a lot of heartache and trouble, and you can get down the highway of success much faster.

Avoiding Mistakes,


P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Winston Churchill said, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”

James Joyce said, “A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.”

Hugh White said, “When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.”

Ryan Cabrera said, “Running with the wrong crowd will never help you.”

“Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men”: Connections (Letter 1)

Pray! Think! Do!

Sir, I am assuming that you are attracted to women, and not to men.

You want to live your life in such a way that God can take you home at any time.

‘Longevity has its place,’ but doing the job that God designed you to do is the ultimate joy.

Letter One

Dear Y.B.M.:

It has been a while since I have written to you. I trust that you are growing spiritually, mentally, and otherwise in your life as a young black man.

Again, I want to thank you for the many kind letters and e-mails that I received from you in response to the book, Letters to Young Black Men: Advice and Encouragement for a Difficult Journey. It was good to hear from you.

As for me, my family and I are doing well. We have had a few challenges since I last wrote to you, but we are doing fine, thank the Lord. Continue reading ““Mo’ Letters to Young Black Men”: Connections (Letter 1)”