The Most Powerful Impact

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Responding in Anger is Weakness

By Eric Elkin

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9

A news story caught my attention while waiting for my daughter to finish grocery shopping.  A father was arrested after charging onto the field of a youth soccer game. It was near the end of the game. His 14-year old son and another player were aggressively pushing each other as they fought for the ball. Something in that moment made the father angry, and he charged the field.


Every person interviewed said they thought the father was coming out to break apart the two players. Instead, the father started pummeling his son’s teenage opponent with his fists. The beating resulted in a concussion, a bloody lip, and four stitches.


Immediately after the incident, the mother of the player attacked by the father asked him, “Does that make you feel like a big man now?” Completely ashamed, the father looked at her and said, “No it doesn’t, I’m sorry.”


The father is a 17-year Navy veteran, a Chief Engineman, and a Navy recruiter. His career is consumed with assuring order, discipline, and restraint. All soldiers are taught how to discern the appropriate use of force. The father’s meltdown and arrest did more than interrupt a soccer game; it called his career into question. Strangely, his professional record showed no indication of this type of behavior.


It is wise to direct your anger towards problems — not people; to focus your energies on answers — not excuses
— William Arthur Ward

Unfortunately, stories about parents attacking children at sporting events are not uncommon. They tend to grab headlines and draw national attention. These kinds of stories allow commentators to make general sweeping statements about the downfall of society, the American family, core values, etc. Perhaps, I am doing the same, but I think stories like this one reveal how power is not really power.


Few of us will ever let our anger reach a point where we would attack a child with our fists. However, almost all of us, at some point, will allow our anger to get the best of us. 


A driver in front of us may take too long making a turn, or, drive too slow in the passing lane. A “friend” will post something irritating on Facebook. A co-worker will not cease a behavior we feel detrimental to our work. The list of anger producing scenarios is endless. 


Instead of judging this father, we should take this time to consider our own lives. Do we ever gain power by giving into strong aggressive responses to life? Perhaps, when we feel emotions building up, we should say to ourselves, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Then remember there is more power in a gentle touch than a punch.


Click to read: 2 Corinthians 12: 2-10


Reflection Questions:

  • Where do you find yourself giving in to your anger?

  • How productive is that response?

  • What does it mean to say, My grace is sufficient for you?

  • When have you found strength in weakness?

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