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Abundant Life
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Anger
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Jack Welch Angry With God

Jack Welch, former corporate chief at General Electric, grew up as a devoted Irish-Catholic. Early on he was an altar boy, and later, as an adult, his religion was so important to him that he was known to travel more than an hour to attend mass. However, his commitment to faith changed 34 years ago when his mother died of a heart attack. In his book Jack: Straight From the Gut, he writes, "I felt cheated, angry, and mad at God for taking my mother away." He claims still to believe in God, but says he lost his heart for religion and no longer attends church.

Preaching Today

Anger Is Razor-Sharp

In November 1996 Sports Illustrated reported a bizarre story of competitiveness gone too far. According to the magazine, in a New Mexico high school football game between Albuquerque Academy and St. Pius X on October 12, 1996, several of the Academy players found themselves with strange cuts, slashes, and scratches on their arms and hands. One boy was bleeding freely from three cuts that later required ten stitches to close. Another boy told his coaches, "It feels like they've got razor blades out there." Well, almost. Referee Steve Fuller inspected the equipment of the opposing team. What he found on the helmet of the offensive center were two chin-strap buckles sharpened to a razor's edge. In the investigation that followed, the offending player's father, a pediatric dentist, admitted to milling the buckles. He had been angered in the previous game by what he thought was excessive head-slapping against his son by opposing linemen. This was his solution.

Sports Illustrated reported, "Several observers describe the father, who was working on the sideline chain gang during the Albuquerque Academy-St. Pius game, as a hothead. He was so vocal in his criticism of the officiating during St. Pius's game against Capital High on Sept. 28 that he was asked to leave the sideline crew."

Hatred and anger-they're as ugly and violent as those razor-sharp buckles.

Aggression, Anger, Competition, Revenge Gal. 5:20; James 1:20; 1 John 2:11; 3:12-15

Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 115.

Anger Is Dangerous

Secrets can be destructive, no matter how long they've been buried, as residents of a Ukraine village found out. The Associated Press reported their story this way:

For 43 years Zinaida Bragantsova had been telling people there was a World War II bomb buried under her bed.

The story began in 1941 when the Germans advanced toward the Ukrainian city of Berdyansk. One night at the very start of the war, she was sitting by the window and sewing on her machine. Suddenly a noise was heard and a whistling close by. She got up and in the following moment was struck by a blast of wind. When she came to, the sewing machine was gone and there was a hole in the floor as well as in the ceiling.

Zinaida couldn't get any officials to check out her story, so she just moved her bed over the hole and lived with it for the next 40 years. Finally, the woman's problem was uncovered. As phone cable was being laid in the area, demolition experts were called in to probe for buried explosives. "Where's your bomb, grandma?" asked the smiling army lieutenant sent to talk to Mrs. Bragantsova. "No doubt, under your bed?"

"Under my bed," Mrs. Bragantsova answered dryly.

And sure enough, there they found a 500-pound bomb. After evacuating 2,000 people from surrounding buildings, the bomb squad detonated the bomb. According to the report, "The grandmother, freed of her bomb, will soon receive a new apartment."

Many people live like that grandmother, with a bomb under the bed - a terrible secret, a great hurt, a seething anger that lays there for years while everyone goes on about their business. No one is safe until it's removed.

Associated Press

A Fool Gives Full Vent To His Anger

The Arizona Republic (4/25/95) reported that when Steve Tran of Westminster, California, closed the door on 25 activated bug bombs, he thought he had seen the last of the cockroaches that shared his apartment. When the spray reached the pilot light of the stove, it ignited, blasting his screen door across the street, breaking all his windows, and setting his furniture ablaze.

"I really wanted to kill all of them," he said. "I thought if I used a lot more, it would last longer." According to the label, just two canisters of the fumigant would have solved Tran's roach problem.

The blast caused over $10,000 damage to his apartment building. And the cockroaches? Tran reported, "By Sunday, I saw them walking around."

As (Proverbs 29:11) says, only "a fool gives full vent to his anger."

Preaching Today

Anger Consumes And Destroys

The Arizona Republic (4/25/95) reported that when Steve Tran of Westminster, California, closed the door on 25 activated bug bombs, he thought he had

According to Edward Barnes in Time (3/14/94), a Sarajevo man named Pipo is a Bosnian Serb sniper who has shot down 325 individuals for the sake of revenge.

Before becoming a sniper, Pipo was a partner in a Sarajevo restaurant with a Muslim man. The two were friends as well as partners--until Pipo's mother was jailed and beaten by Muslims. Pipo recalls, "When she got out, she wouldn't talk about it. That's when I picked up a gun and began shooting Muslims. I hate them all."

Killing for revenge has changed Pipo. "All I know how to do is kill," he says. "I am not sure I am normal anymore. I can talk to people, but if someone pushes me, I will kill them.... In the beginning I was able to put my fear aside, and it was good. Then with the killings I was able to put my emotions aside, and it was good. But now they are gone."

After shooting 325 people, Pipo has no more fear, no remorse, no feelings at all. He states plainly, "I have no feelings for what I do. I went to see my mother in Belgrade, and she hugged me, and I felt nothing.

"I have no life anymore. I go from day to day, but nothing means anything. I don't want a wife and children. I don't want to think."

Vengeance consumes and destroys us.

Leadership Journal

Anger Spreads

In the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a routine baseball game. But what happened that day was anything but routine.

The Orioles' John McGraw got into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes all the players from both teams had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the grandstands. Among the fans the conflict went from bad to worse. Someone set fire to the stands and the entire ballpark burned to the ground. Not only that, but the fire spread to 107 other Boston buildings as well.

Our Daily Bread, August 13, 1992

Quotes

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one. - Benjamin Franklin

It is he who is in the wrong who first gets angry. - William Penn

Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you. - Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking, Transformed by Thorns, p. 117

Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame. - Benjamin Franklin