Pray for wisdom, put it into practice

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2022

I’m not really a fan of practical jokes. I know too many that went wrong, or very nearly did.

I witnessed one where a church youth group played a prank on visiting youth leaders that involved standing and sitting quickly, and moving from chair to chair. The “joke” was that a pie plate of whipped cream would be put in the last chair just before the victim sat down.

When a few other adults and I realized what was about to happen, we yelled, “No!” but it was too late. The victim was a rather reserved woman who had reluctantly agreed to participate, and was wearing her brand new, very expensive fabric coat.

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As soon as she sat in the pie plate, she realized what had happened, stood and walked out with tears rolling down her face.

The youth and their leader apologized publicly to the woman, and the church footed the dry cleaning bill. At least no one was hurt.

Unfortunately, some “jokes” turn out a lot worse.

Last weekend in our state’s capital city, three teenagers pranked a friend by wearing ski masks and approaching his home with water guns that looked like real weapons. The 17-year-old saw them coming and shot at them with a real gun, striking a 15-year-old in the chest. The teen died from his wounds.

Jackson Police Chief Deric Hearn said police were calling the death a justified homicide, but are continuing to investigate.

No matter what prompted the teens to conceive and carry out this “joke,” the end result was tragic. There were apparently several poor choices made that led to that end. A teen has died. His family has lost a loved one. His friends have to live with the knowledge that their choices contributed to his death. The shooter has to live with the same.

It would be easy to sit back and point fingers and hurl accusations at these individuals. But the truth is we have all made decisions we regret — decisions that resulted in someone else getting hurt.

My heart breaks for these teens and their families. I pray God has already surrounded them with people who know Him and love them.

My plea is for us to think a bit better before we act. I admit I have been an impulsive person for much of my life. I can blame it on one of those acronyms that contribute to such, but I made the decisions, even if they were in haste. Some have turned out OK, but some have not.

Let’s face it — even some of our best-laid plans have proven to be organized foolishness. Or at least some of mine have.

Pray for these families. Pray for wisdom, too, and then put it into practice. We can all use a little more.


Brett Campbell can be reached at