Summary: This message deals with Jesus’ call for Christians to not involve themselves in verbal abuse.

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Don’g Play the Game

© 2006 Eric Bain

NOTE: This sermon is available in audio format @

BI - Don’t play the Game of Death!

Good morning… For those of you that may not know, my name is Eric and I am the pastor here at Sanctuary.

I don’t know if you heard this news story about Howard (Hawthorne)… in Oklahoma…

• Howard – described by friends as… an easy to get along with - appliance repair man

• Had been having an argument with his neighbor over his fence

• Apparently, his neighbor believed that when Howard put in the fence he had somehow blocked off about 10 feet of the neighbor’s property.

• Well, just last month (Nov 10, 2006) Howard called the police, because he’d had enough – so apparently, at least in his own mind – he genuinely believed he was in the right.

• Nonetheless, the police told him this was a matter for civil court… Howard seemed calm… everybody seemed calm… so they left.

• An hour later, police were called back to the Hawthorne residence because in front of as many as six witnesses… Howard shot and killed…

o His neighbor

o His neighbor’s son

o His neighbor’s friend

• As police drove up, they watched as Howard then turned the gun on himself and fired.

All over a fence… and 10 feet!

Do you ever find yourself hearing of stories like that and think…

• What in the heck happened?

• How could those people be so foolish?

• Or, get this… Why didn’t somebody stop it!

o I mean, the argument was going on for years

o There were at least six witnesses to the shootings

o Why didn’t somebody… somewhere along the way… say, “Guys, this is dumb! It’s not worth fighting about!” But nobody did!

• How could these people be so foolish?


The past few weeks, I’ve worked some very long days… I don’t tell you that to impress you – In fact, I’m ashamed sometimes of how much I work. Because as someone with workaholic tendencies, I will sometimes put my job over things that are far more important

• Nonetheless, knowing myself, I have given my wife full permission to sort of call me on this… to reel me in.

• And… she had… several times – over the past several weeks.

• In fact, I could tell that she was getting to the point where she was no longer reeling me in because she was being nice and friendly… but rather, she was getting sort of irritated. (I’m sure some of you can relate)

• Nonetheless… Last Tuesday was one of those days, in a string of days. I had gotten up and left the house by 6:30 and as I was returning home that night. And as I was driving, I found myself …

o Boy… I need to really love on my wife, tonight!

o I need to be extra careful

o Extra sensitive

o I need to turn on the listening ears and really tune into what’s going on

o I need to be there when I get home!

• So, when I get home, I notice that Cortnie was a little distant… a little irritated.

• But I’m aware… I’m in the know…. You see, when I got married I promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those husbands! Those husbands that are just sort of un-aware and oblivious.

• So, I key in on the fact that she’s a little distant… a little irritated. And I give her a hug. And I start loving on her.

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