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Summary: Third sermon in series studying characters involved in the beheading of John the Baptist. This sermon looks at Herodious and the effects of bearing a grudge.

Herodias: The Woman Who Nursed a Grudge

Psalm 14:1-7; Ephesians 3:14-21; Mark 6:14-19 (NIV)

Tragically, the names Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes, and Batman will always be connected.

Slightly over a week ago, James Holmes age 24 went on a shooting rampage in a movie theater leaving 12 dead and 58 wounded.

One news source reported, “How Holmes went from a student enrolled in a neuroscience graduate program at the University of Colorado to a man amassing more than 6000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet prior to the alleged shooting is what investigators are now trying to figure out.”

Pastor Mitch Hamilton, pastor of the Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church, located about a mile from the shooting site had this horror driven home when a young woman walked into the church and asked a simple question: “Why did my cousin die?”

Why? The question – or some form of it – is resonating across the country.

Why did a gunman do this?

Why in a movie theater, which has been a cultural sanctuary where movie-goers seek to escape reality.

The answer may never come, and if it does, it will not be sufficient.

I would imagine the same question was in the minds of John the Baptist’s disciples as they came and took away his body.

“Why? Why would Herodias carry out such a horrendous act of murder?”

No one would have guessed that Leonard Holt was a ticking time bomb.

He had worked as a lab technician at the same Pennsylvania paper mill for nineteen years.

He was respected as a Boy Scout leader, devoted father, member of the fire brigade, and a regular church goer.

But on a cold October morning, Leonard stuffed a 45 automatic and a Smith and Wesson .38 in his coat pockets.

After driving his station wagon to the mill, he stalked into the shop, and in a calculated frenzy he began to execute people he had known for more than fifteen years.

His community was left bewildered that a mild-mannered man could become a mass murderer.

The investigation that followed pieced together a profile of seething resentment.

It seems that several of his victims had been promoted over him while remained mired in the same position.

Some of his car pool had quit riding with him because of his reckless driving.

Resentment had been building up for years until it exploded in rage.

Three words appeared beneath his picture in Time magazine:

RESPONSIBLE, RESPECTFUL – AND RESENTFUL.

Allowed to fester, resentment, bearing a grudge, often explodes, doing irreparable damage: domestic violence, ugly demeaning words, loss of job, divorce, and on the list could go.

This seems to be what happened to Herodias.

The New International Version reads, “So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him.”

Did you pick up on the word “NURSED”?

It suggests that this anger deep inside of her was something she fed.

She kept it growing, like a tumor, until it came out in the form of HATE; then manipulation and ultimately: violence.

It was like an ember of fire that she kept blowing on until it erupted into a blazing flame that was out of control.

Do you know anyone like this?

Are we the guilty party?

Could it be that we are nursing a grudge?

I hope this story can help prevent us from harboring a grudge, and that we can discover some ways we can control our anger before it gets out of control.

There are three thoughts I want us to look at.

First, in order to prevent ourselves from harboring a grudge, we must constantly work at developing a positive self-image.

Amazingly, in a country of such abundance, most Americans suffer from some sort of poor self-concept. In a desperate attempt to overcome this, there are more than 60,000 self help seminars offered a year generating by some estimates to a billion dollar a year industry.

Out of curiosity, I did a search on Amazon for self-help books and had over 166,000 responses.

Our poor self image tells us that if we want to be successful and feel good about ourselves we must accumulate things and have access to more money. Perhaps, this is why in 2012 Americans had almost 60 million credit cards ( source: The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Jan. 2010) .

When the newest gadget doesn’t make us feel better about ourselves, we often become agitated.

We lash out at others and begin nursing a grudge of our own.

We become driven to prove we have worth and that we deserve the right to be a part of the human race.

A poor self esteem makes us vulnerable to hurt feelings: causes us to become angry, and if we are not careful – we begin to harbor grudges against others, or perhaps, the world in general.

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