I felt the knife pressed up against my throat. M's last words ringing in my ears, "I don't like the way you look, I am going to slit your throat."
How did I end up in this position? Surely it wasn't because of my perceived lack of fashion sense.
It was the 8th grade and M only showed up occasionally. He was one of those "rough" kids that came to school with dark clothes, a chain from his pants to his wallet, the beginning of a mustache and a bad attitude. I actually got along fairly well with M and never had a run-in with him.
I had just become a Christian a few months before and was at the awkward stage of being a new Christian in a new school in a new state. I was trying to figure out faith, hormones and public school!
So M comes in for the Christmas party, walks up behind me when the teacher leaves the room and now I am back where I started this post, with a knife to my throat.
Various kids tried to talk him into dropping the knife to no avail. I saw my short little life pass before my eyes. "M come on man, you don't want to do this." He assured me he did.
Being a new Christian I felt like I could not die this way. If I was going to die, God would surely think better of me if I died a martyr. So, saying a prayer and reaching tentatively into my desk...I pulled out a Bible tract! "M, I've been meaning to give this to you!"
"Now I really am going to kill you, " M said.
I was now prepared...I really thought God would look more favorably on me now that I had handed out that Bible tract.
Thankfully the teacher walked in, M ran out and never came back to school.
When I looked death in the eye, I blinked. I responded, not out of genuine faith, but out of fear. I was more afraid of dying an "unworthy" death than actually dying. For years I had a "martyr" complex.
I was living a life of fear.
2 Tim. 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
Fear runs deep and it has been a life long battle for me. This verse in 2 Tim is a good reminder for me that you can "do good" out of fear and not faith. I want to make sure my actions are based on faith in the Son of God, not fear of displeasing Him.