Last month an ugly and tragic incident played out on a racetrack as a young driver named Kevin Ward, Jr. lost his life. This particular driver had apparently been driven into a wall by another driver during the race. Video of the event then shows Ward exiting his car and walking into oncoming traffic in order to confront the other driver. Several cars pass him by until finally the one he was looking for approaches. As it does, Ward walks farther onto the track pointing and gesturing at the other driver. Then, he is struck by the passing car and lies motionless on the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

What caused this horrible tragedy? If we listen to social media and sports anchors, opinions vary. But if we listen to God, I think there is one cause for the events on the racetrack that night. It is one of the most dangerous diseases a person can succumb to. That sickness is anger. Anger has been an issue for mankind since the days of Cain and his vicious attack on his brother. I think it will do us all good to take a moment and examine this heartbreaking story with a goal of learning the dangers of anger.

First, anger can come upon us quickly. The entire video of the racetrack events takes less than two minutes to watch. In those two minutes, anger delivers its devastating blow on two men. Next, anger makes us do things we would normally not do. No rational human being is going to play a game of chicken with multiple cars on a racetrack, let alone doing so on foot. Yet this video clearly shows a man who had lost all sense of reason. Rationality is the first victim when one loses their temper. Once a human is driven by his or her emotions, sin is the usual destination. Finally, anger often comes with horrific consequences. Kevin Ward, Jr. was 20 years old when his life came to an end. If we were somehow able to speak to him today, I wonder if this 20-year-old man with dreams and aspirations for his future would tell us that his death was worth his moment of anger.

Something tells me he would do things differently if he had them to do all over again. Something tells me that he would regain his composure in that moment of anger. He would wait for personnel to get to his side and then exit his vehicle. He would go home to his friends and family like he had done so often after a race. Most importantly, he would wake up the next day with another chance at life. Let us never forget how devastating anger can be. Let us never underestimate the power it can have over our lives. May we always seek to control our tempers so that we never have to deal with the consequences that so often come after an angry outburst.

Walter Rayburn
Owl Hollow Church of Christ
Winchester, TN

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