Sackomania and The Quarterback Sack

palmerAfter watching the gleefully satisfied look of the defensive players on the Broncos and Panthers, I’m adding a new classification to the list of impulse control disorders.  This list usually includes dysfunctional behaviors such as kleptomania, pyromania, trichotillomania. 

Impulse control disorders are characterized by a person’s inability to avoid behavior that might bring harm to themselves or others. Typically, the pot of anxiety is about to boil over immediately before the behavior occurs.   Committing the act is like opening a pressure relief valve, and in spite of the potentially dangerous consequences, there’s an immediate feeling of relief and even happiness:

  • Kleptomania: People who struggle with this disorder will steal when they get anxious or frustrated and find relief by doing so.
  • Pyromania:  This describes the act whereby a person feels a sense of excitement or relief after deliberately setting fires.
  • Trichotillomania:  This is the person you’ve seen who is constantly pulling and twisting her hair to gain a release of tension or a sense of satisfaction
  • Sackomania is the new classification that I am adding to this list.

Sackomania is usually observed on Sundays, and it most often occurs between the opposing goal posts on a field consisting of 100 yards.  If you watched the Broncos defeat the Patriots or endured the massacre of the Cardinals as they were devoured by the Panthers, you saw a classic case of Sackomania.

Some of the actions of the defensive players were characterized by their inability to avoid behavior that might bring harm to themselves or others.  In these instances, the harm resulted in very little pain to self, but Tom Brady and Carson Palmer, were left in crumpled piles of agonizing pain.

The NFL is the dream of many young boys, but football odds are stacked against them.  Out of the  310,465 high school seniors who play football, only 6.5% of them will make to the NCAA division of football; and, out of that number, just 1.6% of them will make it to the NFL.

Even though you probably won’t make it to the NFL, there is a 100% chance that at some time in your life, you’re going to struggle with an impulse—Mr. Temptation is going to knock on your door and invite you to come outside and play. No one is immune to the enticing power of temptation:

  • David struggled with it, and in the Psalm 46, he found hope in God as his “refuge and strength, and a very present help in trouble.”
  • James said, “Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him. Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin (James 1: 14-16).”

The impulse to yield to temptation can be managed by putting on the “whole armor of God,” and “hiding God’s word in your heart (Ephesians 6:11; Psalm 119:9-11).” The next time an urge or impulse is pulling you away from the safety of the shore and enticing you to engage in some questionable behavior, let me suggest you get into one of God’s RAFTS:

  • Resist the urge:  Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4: 7).
  • Align with God:  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4: 7–8).
  • Follow:  Pursue what has God’s approval. Pursue faith, love, and peace together with those who worship the Lord with a pure hear (2 Timothy 2:22).
  • Trust:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
  • Seek God in prayer: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).

For the Forty-Third Time: Thank You!

IMG_0712The phone rang twice, and then I heard Johnny Lawson’s voice say a raspy, “Hello.” I said, “I just called to see if you’re still among the living.”  He replied, “Hi Stan, I still recognize your voice after all of these years.”

Johnny was my immediate supervisor when I reported for duty at Peterson Field, in Colorado Springs.  I had one measly stripe sewn to my shirt sleeve and a big mouth that kept getting me into trouble.  Fortunately, Johnny’s uniform was lined with stripes, and he had my back.

Each year when October makes its appearance on the calendar. I think quite a bit about Johnny.  I’ve called this fine man my friend for the past 43 years.

Johnny did more than save my hide, he was also instrumental in saving my soul. Through the wonderful kindness of him and his family, I came to know Jesus as my Savior.

When I think of Johnny, I think of the way Solomon spoke of friends:

  • Some friends may ruin you, but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother (Proverbs 18:24)
  • A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times (Proverbs 17:17)
  • In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend (Proverbs 27:17).

I have to agree with Charles Spurgeon, “Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life.  Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial, had they not found a friend.”

In October of 1972, Johnny Lawson walked into the emergency where I was being treated for a severe head injury. Over the next month, he and his family went far beyond the call of duty to help nurse me back to health.

Had this friend not found me, I might have failed beneath the bitterness of my trial.  Johnny Lawson is my definition of what a friend is to be.

Thanks Johnny!

Assault on Aurora

I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on the tragedy of the Colorado shooting.  One verse that has kept coming to mind is Jeremiah 17:9:  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

I’m not going to dignify the shooter by using his name—I’ll just use the initials jh.  The premeditated acts of jh are as old as the first murder committed by Cain.  This son of Adam and Eve was angry at God and jealous of his brother Abel, so he killed him.

As I said in church yesterday, I am capable of committing the same transgressions perpetrated by jh.  Given the right circumstances and faulty reasoning, I have the same sinful potential.  Whether you will admit it or not, so do you.

It is doubtful that I or you will ever commit the act of murder; it is very likely, however, that we will be tempted to stray from the straight and narrow.  Like Odysseus, we need to take the necessary steps to resist the Siren’s call of temptation.

According to Paul, we do this by taking our thoughts into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). When the first murderous thought entered the mind of jh, he should have taken it captive.  Instead, he dwelled on it until it became an obsession that became an act.

The lesson is this:  If we do not exercise the discipline of taking our thoughts captive, we will be captivated by our thoughts.  Either we control our thoughts and emotions or they control us.

I challenge you to keep a diary for the next week.  Every time you are aware of a new thought or some mental message that is floating around inside of your head, write it down.   I think you will be surprised at the frequency of the thoughts and the way they influence your life.

By all accounts jh was a brilliant person.  The flaw in his life was that he had the power of knowledge, but he lacked the freedom of the truth.  This freedom is found in Jesus, and He said:  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

In his letter to Timothy, Paul warned of people who were always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.  Without truth we are susceptible to the passions that reside within us, and gullible to the chicanery of the world.

Perhaps an old Chinese proverb will be enough to keep you thinking:  Better to light a candle, than curse the darkness.

Enough said about jh and his deeds.  The focus now needs to be JC and His healing.