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Don't Blow Up Your Life

It was an explosive day.

Mid-summer in south Georgia, it was blazing hot with temperatures pushing 100 degrees. By late afternoon, the skies would fill with powder kegs of clouds exploding with ear-splitting thunder and bombing us with hail and rain.

But the weather wasn’t all that was explosive. The heat melted patience and turned sun-blistered guests at the amusement park into walking time bombs.

One of them detonated at the table next to ours during lunch. A family of four approached carrying their plastic trays of hamburgers and fries. One of the two sons, a kid about 8 years old, tilted his tray and the top of his hamburger bun tumbled to the filthy concrete floor.

His dad exploded. We all sat in silence, stunned by the shockwaves as the man shook his son and screamed, “What is wrong with you? Look what you did!”

He snatched the bun from the floor, brushed it with his hand, slammed it back onto the kid’s hamburger, and shouted, “Eat it! Just shut up and eat it!”

Ready for the irony? I’m not making this up; I have witnesses. The man was wearing, I kid you not, a T-shirt which read, “World’s Greatest Dad”.

Everyone sat in embarrassed silence. But I felt some sympathy for the dad. By experience, I could imagine how ashamed he would feel later when he cooled down a bit. Maybe you’ve had similar explosive moments, too.

Explosions happen quickly. The blast rarely lasts long. But the damage and scars may last a lifetime.

Love avoids those explosions. Describing love, the apostle Paul wrote that love doesn’t quickly explode in anger. Oh, that’s not exactly what your Bible says. The actual wording is more like, “It is not easily angered” (1 Corinthians 13:5). But the word found there in the original language is one that we also use somewhat rarely in English – paroxysm.

My dictionary says a paroxysm is “a sudden attack or outburst or a “convulsion, fit, or outburst.” It’s what that man had last summer at the amusement park when he went ballistic over a hamburger bun.

“God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). Allow it to soak in. Let it overflow to others. Let it seep slowly into your anger, saturating your heart so there is nothing left to ignite.

We could certainly use fewer explosive days.


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