The Precipice

I had him.

I knelt over my next door neighbor, sitting on his chest.
I had him pinned to the ground, his arms were beneath my knees so he could not raise them up and shield his face, he could not stop me from what I was about to do. My left hand was wrapped firmly around his neck, holding his head stationary to the spot on the ground to my picking. My right hand was raised in a fist to strike a most damaging blow.

I could feel my muscles in tune, the adrenaline coursing through my veins…my anger…I tightened the muscles in my fist one more notch as I prepared to bring my fury down on him. He yelled up at me how he was going to “f#@k me up”.. and as I looked at his face… I had half a second where I thought about where the blow should fall. Should I bring the blow straight down on the bridge of his nose, or should I swing a right then left hooks that would catch his jawbones… a combination would undoubtedly silence his angry tirade and stop his struggle to get his arms free.

He was yelling defiantly when I raised up on him and drew my fist just a little farther back…the timing off my weight dropping back down on him timed with the blow would put maximum power into my punch.

I swear that for a moment, just for that second, it felt as though I was holding the hammer of Thor. I knew the power that I could bring down on this man.

And he realized what was about to happen.

This next-door neighbor and I were at odds from our first interaction. I had purchased the property and one of the first days I was at the building working, and I went out the back door and a man was standing in my backyard with a pit bull loose, throwing sticks.

When I stepped out of my house and the dog saw me the dog took off towards me, the neighbor almost seemed panicked as he grabbed and restrained the dog that obviously wanted to eat me.

I let him know that I was the new owner and asked him to keep the dog over on his property. He secured the dog in his yard and then came back to the property line and called me over. He stated that if I ever set foot in his property that he would knock me out. He then squared up and brought his fists up. I tried then and several times afterwards to become friendly with him but he would have nothing of it.

Several months later I was working at the house late one night when I heard the dog outside running around. I went outside, and, unsure of what I was seeing, I asked if his dog was on a leash. It wasn’t. He said “get back in your house bitch or I’ll knock you out”. After several attempts to de-escalate the situation, again stated he was going to come over there knock me out to which I got fed up and replied “I don’t think so.”

Seemingly surprised at my comment, he walked over the property line squared up and then threw up a punch at me that didn’t connect, and then retreated back on his property line.
I called the cops to document thinking that this may not be our last interaction.

So that happened.

Now, it’s Sunday night, months later, about 11:30 PM there’s a knock at my door. The next-door lady which I thought was his mother had come over to tell me that the hatch on my SUV was open to which I thanked her and walked out to inspect the car. We’re making small talk when HE came over.

He started demanding what the problem was. His mother and I both stated there was no problem and that I was just checking to see why my truck was open. He kept saying he and I had a problem and HE was going to solve it. His mother was telling him to go back to the house but he was not leaving my driveway. I was annoyed but decided to ignore him hoping that would de-escalate the situation as a checked out the rest of my car. I came back to the rear of the car where they were standing and shut the hatch. As I shut the hatch, he stepped up and trapped me between the car and himself stating that there was a problem and he was going to take care of it right now.

Standing so close to me that he was breathing on me, I stated that he needed to move back, which he ignored. I put my hands on his shoulders I moved him back to arms length from me to which he promptly threw a punch that connected on my left cheek.

There’s a flight or fight response in situations like this…mine was fight.
The adrenaline kicked me into an instant rage.

I grabbed ahold of his hoodie and yanked on it trying to line him for up a couple return shots when I realized that he was off-balance. I threw all of my weight on top of him, tackling him, and driving him to the ground. I grabbed his arms to keep him from punching me and rolled on top of him. I put his arms underneath my knees and with my left hand, grabbed his throat and his right and my right hand raised up at a fist.

I screamed into his face, “This is OVER, RIGHT NOW!”

Yet he was defiant and yelling and screaming about what he was about to do to me in complete denial. He continued to struggle to free his arms…

I leaned down so that our eyes locked and I screamed into his face,

(I didn’t say freaking)

But he continued to struggle to get his arms free so that his actions could meet his words.
…which brings you up to speed with the story.

In a situation like this…what would you do? How do you react when you’re suddenly in a altercation and find yourself in a rage?
Have you been here recently?

I’m not talking about everyday hierarchy work or leadership type of stuff…but the kind of power where you are in a position of absolute strength to dominate someone?

If you’re a boss and someone under you screws up royally, do you rip into them make them understand how you could screw up their life? Do you revel in your power?

In regards to mental capacity and intellectual knowledge, do you lord over the people around you making them feel insecure, show them how ridiculously stupid they are? Do you always use the occasion to demonstrate how smart you are and to demean people when they make mistakes?

If you’re a doctor do you always have to demonstrate how smart you are to everyone around you? Do you always have to show them how little they know compared to you?

If you’re a father and your young son does something that angers you, do you go off on him, let him know your anger, let him feel your wrath to the point that your child fears you?

Are you on an athletic team or sport where you are dominating another team…and you turn it up to demoralize them? Are you the ugly winner?

Examine yourself… what do you do with power where it is so easy for you to take and use on someone who cannot even defend themselves.

Which is where I found myself.

My anger and adrenalin hung in the balance of a destructive blow that I was about to deal to a man that had in the past provoked my anger, tried to intimidate and taunted me, and had now come onto my property and struck the first blow. I had trained and worked out over the years for a moment such as this…
…and that moment had arrived.

Right before my body and fist started down, he stopped talking…stopped struggling.
He finally knew what was about to happen.
We both knew what was about to happen.

My fist and my resolution were like a ball that had been thrown directly upward into the air…that moment when upward motion becomes downward motion…the moment where everything changes and the ball is neither rising nor falling… that very moment…I held my anger, held back in my rage…and I saw that he needed mercy.

I held his throat… and my punch…my fist did not start on its downward path…I teetered at the precipice but did not fall into the abyss.
I mentally backed off the edge.
“This is over, and I’m going to let you up, and you’re going to go over to your yard” I stated.
It was not a question.

I let him up and the the lady grabbed his hoodie, pulling him into their yard.

I knew perfectly well that by giving him mercy, giving him a second chance, he could use it to go after me again.

And he did.

I went into my house, searching for my phone to call the police and there was a large crash against my house…I felt the impact shudder through the house. I came out to find a large rock have been thrown against my brand new special order side door that I had waited weeks for and had just installed. The door was damaged and jam was destroyed.

The police came and asked if I wanted to press charges. They then took statements, arrested him, and he spent two weeks in jail. Rather than do a trial I allowed him to plead guilty to the assault and agree to pay for the damages to the door.

They brought him to court in prison clothes, handcuffs, and shackles. The guy always looked strong and physically cut with a menacing scowl…but here…he looked tired and worn and old. The “mother” came to court as a witness, for me. She cried when she saw him…he shed tears over what he had caused her. She stated in court that she wanted him to move out and he said he understood. I have not seen him since that day in court. In a situation like this there would be no happy ending, just an ending.

There was something that haunted me for a couple weeks after the fight…. It wasn’t the thoughts of what could have happened to me or anything like that…it was what I almost did to him. It was that moment when I drew back to hit him…that moment that I felt my strength, my dominance over him…MY RAGE…I know that I would have seriously hurt him had I started hitting him. I have worked out and boxed and trained for such a moment…but to add the rage? The outcome could have been life altering for both of us.

At the precipice, in my rage, at that moment, I feel God checked me…not only for this man’s sake, but my own. I could’ve done something that I would have regretted, even if he started it, even if I was in the ‘right’. He gave me power and ability to exercise it exactly in a moment such as this, so I could not only subdue an enemy
but also
to show mercy to a man who needed it.

We are all given a measure of power:
Maybe Physical Strength
Maybe Money
Maybe Position
Maybe Knowledge and Wisdom

It can be used to govern and bring order….or it can be used to bring destruction and chaos.
It can be used to protect and serve…or it can be used to dominate and steal.
It can be used to bring honor and victory…or it can be used to emansculate and demoralize.
It can be used with a level head…or it can be used in an anger and rage.

Remember that you were given that measure of power from God and that you WILL stand in front of Him and be called to answer for how you used it.

So I ask you to imagine that day when you stand before Him…and He treats you like you’ve treated others…are you at ease?
…or no?

Because the measure that you give, will be the measure that you receive


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