He was always angry. It burned inside of him. Although he seemed to enjoy it, the rage tormented him. He played angry, coached, angry, parented angry. And he felt like everyone owed him something. No one wanted to be around him.  Deep down, he wanted something to change, but he didn’t know where to start.

Proverbs 17:13–“He who returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.”

His dad shared that verse with him, but he didn’t understand. What “evil” had he given to people? What “good” had anyone done for him? All he saw was the people who seemed out to get him. All he cared about was what he deserved for being a good player, a good coach.

Over time, he started to listen. His dad, as it turns out, had some wisdom to share about this verse and his life.

Be grateful, his dad said. You didn’t get here on your own. Your talent is from God. Folks have made sacrifices to help you advance. And you’ve never said thanks. In that sense, you’ve returned evil for good. You are owed nothing, his dad emphasized, so be grateful for everything you have and to everyone who loves you.

Forgive, his dad challenged. You’re so angry, son. Sure, people have hurt you and life hasn’t been exactly what you thought it would be. But that’s just life in a sinful world. Forgive, just like Jesus did. He received more evil than anyone and yet responded with love and forgiveness.

Gratitude and forgiveness…without those two guiding your path, you’ll forever deal with the “evil” of entitlement and anger. Those things won’t go away until they destroy you. Kill entitlement with gratitude and anger with forgiveness.

Lord Jesus, create in me a heart of gratitude and forgiveness, not so that people will like me, but so that I will be conformed to your character. Amen.