In your anger do not sin. Ephesians 4:26
“Marvin Pritchett has been shot. He’s dead.” My sister gave me this tragic news, and I struggled to comprehend it. Marvin was 80 years old, a friend of my dad’s and a friend of the community. I thought back to my high school graduation. Mr. Pritchett had given me a generous cash gift, but he was known for his philanthropic endeavors. Our school system and sports teams benefited from his support, because he never forgot his roots. He went to Union County High School the same year as my Aunt Gene, and his son went there years later with Bryan, my brother. He helped people in the community, and he employed over 400 people through his company, Pritchett Trucking.
How do we comprehend that the man who shot Marvin Pritchett worked for him for 40 years? How do we make sense of the fact that the Marvin and the man who shot him, Hubert Allen Jr., spent time together on a regular basis? Why did Hubert shoot five people, including himself, making the town of Lake Butler infamous for a mass shooting?
Life doesn’t always make sense. We know that Marvin and Hubert had an altercation, but they had decades of history joining them together.
Sometimes in our passionate moments after a fight we lose our sense of reasoning. We become so angry that we commit horrible crimes. At that moment when winning an argument or fight seems like life’s most important conquest, reason leaves us.
There are times when winning an argument or getting even only makes us becomes losers in life. We do things that we regret.
I hope that when I am tempted to seek revenge or to make someone pay after we’ve had an argument that I will remember this event and the tragedies that followed. I don’t want to allow myself to start down the road of trying to win all the arguments in life. I don’t want to slay someone with my words just to win the verbal altercation. I want to learn discipline and self-control, because it can be tempting to act inappropriately when I feel wronged.
I’ve never hurt someone physically when I’ve been angry, but I have made a few remarks in life that were meant to sting my opponent. However, when I look back over life, those statements are the ones that I regret the most.
This event, this mass shooting, cements a life lesson into my mind: deal with anger in a positive manner. For me, this sometimes means a trip to a lake or pond, some picturesque place where I can pray and reflect on God’s goodness and his promise to help me in difficult situations. Sometimes dealing with my anger means planning how to handle the situation in a logical and compassionate manner. Sometimes it means asking advice from someone wise, maybe even a counselor or pastor.
I can’t allow disagreements with other people to make me act foolishly. I must choose to deal with anger in a positive manner, because I want to be remembered for being a peacemaker and a solver of problems. I want to become a better person because of the tragic shootings that struck my hometown.
- Lake Butler Shooting: Gunman Hubert Allen Jr. Kills 2, Wounds 2, Takes Own Life In Florida (huffingtonpost.com)
- Gunman shoots 5, kills 3 in Lake Butler (jacksonville.com)