Welcome to Class 70 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), Charles Garrett (M.Div, Southwestern Theological Seminary), and now my youngest son Danyel Ezekiel Whyte who is in his third year of college. 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 —
This is part 3 of our lesson titled “Oh, The Mistakes I’ve Made.”
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.”
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: some of the children on the school bus were joking with me about being a preacher’s son, and I remember blurting 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.
LESSON : 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 the 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 success highway much faster.
If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue lessons 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.