Welcome to Class 68 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young men. I am Daniel Whyte III, chairman of the National Association to Save Young Black Men in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.
I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men”. We are using that book as the text and its study guide to guide you through the course. The study guide was developed with the help of Jamie McCallum (M.Div, Truett Theological Seminary) and Charles Garrett (M.Div, Southwestern Theological Seminary). This course is for all young men, but especially for young black men and young men of color who oftentimes have a “difficult journey” in this great country called America. I call this class “the Ramp” to the Highway of Success because my goal is to get you on “the Ramp”. As a man, you ought to be able to make it from there. Out of respect for you as a young man, my job is to get you on the ramp and point you in the right direction, not to tell you all the details once you get onto the highway of success. With God, you can do great things.
— Let’s Pray —
No one likes to admit to making mistakes. 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 already have your number—you just don’t know that they do.
I remember while I was a student at Baptist University of America (BUA) 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: 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.
LESSON: 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.Watch this! 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.
If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue this lesson in our next class.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.