During my "growing up" years in Texas, my father ran for political office three times. When I was four, he ran for judge. I helped him by passing out campaign cards to the old men who sat on benches around the courthouse square. Needless to say, he lost in that race. At that time, he wore a mustache, and learned that he had lost votes because of it. One man even said: "I would never vote for a man with a misplaced eyebrow!" In my opinion, I think he would have made a fine judge. He has been blessed with a sharp intellect, common sense, and much wisdom. He has always been a compassionate and gentle counselor. Those attributes served him well in the legal profession and as an elder in the church for thirty-nine years.

In 1959, he was appointed to the office of County Attorney for Grayson County. He completed the unfinished term of the elected official who had retired from office that year. After that term was finished, he was elected to the office twice and served as County Attorney for ten years.

Most of us aren't from political families and don't know what life is like from that prospective. My father's opponent was married to a wealthy woman who kept his campaign going with all of the "bells and whistles" that money could buy. They were able to afford commercials on television and advertisements in the newspaper. My parents and I appeared at campaign meetings and dinners. His opponent was also there with balloons and great give-away items for the crowd to take home. My father couldn't compete financially with his wealthy contender. He was barely able to afford a few campaign cards. The caption on his cards said, "Your vote would be greatly appreciated." I think he also had a few bumper stickers, but not many. However, he won the election by a landslide, and life was great — for four years.

When my father ran for another term, Mr. "Wealthy Man" ran against him again, but with even greater determination. The nephew of my father's opponent was in my sixth grade class. He taunted me mercilessly and told everyone that his uncle was going to beat my father in the election. I was worried and my feelings were hurt. When I reported this to my father, he became more inspired than ever to win.

As Election Day drew near, things grew progressively worse. Mud-slinging in the media hit hard against my father. A big advertisement was placed in the newspaper. It was full of lies about the "bad job" that he had done while in office. My father's friends (and advisors) told him to run a newspaper advertisement and retaliate. They all waited on him to fight back. Instead, he decided to turn the other cheek and set a Christian example. He placed an ad in the local newspaper and listed his many accomplishments through the years. He also said: "Your vote and influence would be greatly appreciated." He won this election, too — by an even greater landslide.

What a lesson he taught us all about being decent and having integrity. He later asked me about the boy in my class and how he had behaved the day after the election. You know what he did? He held his head down and was embarrassed. I could have taunted him, but I didn't — it really wasn't necessary. You see, the class was happy for me and baffled that I hadn't fought back. We can win with kindness.

What a lesson he taught us all.

So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence. A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ... So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away. (2 Peter 1:5-10 NIV)