Welcome to Class 72 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 4 of our lesson titled “Oh, The Mistakes I’ve Made.”
Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble.”
Edgar Watson Howe said, “The way out of trouble is never as simple as the way in.”
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.”
Son, you can avoid a whole lot of trouble by maintaining a good and positive attitude.
Little did I know that 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.
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 down 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.
Ephesians 4:31 reads “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”
It is important not to underestimate the importance of having a good attitude. your attitude clouds the way that other people see you. Even if you are doing a great job, other people will ignore how good you are just because you don’t have an attitude that they don’t like. It is best to have a good attitude so as to avoid dealing with the problems that arise when you have an attitude that other people don’t like. Now, I know this may sound trite, but it is so true: “Your attitude determines your altitude”; your attitude determines how high you go in this life. If you have the right attitude towards 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. It is an open secret that police officers will give you a harder time if you show them a bad attitude when they pull you over. There are many people who could have avoided harassment by simply showing respect to a police officer. This advice goes for any authority figure. People will ignore all of what you have done and who you are because they look on the outside rather than the inside. Put on a good attitude when dealing with people so you can avoid the ways they will make your life harder.
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.