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The Dark Side Of Winning The Lottery

Temptation Betrayal Jealousy

Source: “Curse of the lottery: Tragic stories of big jackpot winners,” by NICOLE BITETTE, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, January 12, 2016

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-02-02

Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:10

Author: Illustration Exchange


The New York Daily News reports:

It's more likely you’ll get struck by lightning than win the Powerball — but if you do win, there is an even better chance that you'll go broke.

Nearly 70% of lottery winners end up broke within seven years. Even worse, several winners have died tragically or witnessed those close to them suffer.

Edward Ugel, author of the book “Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions,” told the Daily Beast of the thousands of lottery winners he's known, few were happy and only a small number lived happily ever after.

"You would be blown away to see how many winners wish they'd never won," Ugel said.

Here are a few of those stories:

Abraham Shakespeare: Murdered by a newfound friend

Shakespeare hit it big for $30 million in 2006, causing friends and family to hound him for money. He befriended Dorice (Dee Dee) Moore who tricked Shakespeare into believing she was trying to protect him from the greedy people around him.

Moore convinced the lottery winner to transfer his assets to her before he went missing in 2009. In 2012, she was sentenced to mandatory life without parole for his murder by a judge who called her “cold, calculating and cruel.”

David Lee Edwards: Lived in human feces before his death

Edwards — a former drug addict and felon — won a $27 million jackpot in 2001 while unemployed in South Florida.

He quickly blew through the money by purchasing a $1.6 million house in Palm Beach Gardens, three racehorses, a fiber optics company, a Lear Jet, a limo business, a $200,000 Lamborghini Diablo and a multitude of other luxuries.

Edwards and his wife returned to drug use and had numerous run-ins with police for possession of crack cocaine, pills and heroin.

He lost of all his money in just a few years and ended up living in a storage unit surrounded by human feces.

Jeffrey Dampier: Shot to death by his in-law

Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois lottery before his own family turned against him. The millionaire showered his family with cash and gifts, but that just wasn't enough for his sister-in-law, Victoria Jackson.

Dampier was kidnapped and shot in the back of his head by Jackson and her boyfriend around seven years after winning the jackpot. The couple was charged in his murder and are each serving a life sentence in prison.

Billie (Bob) Harrell Jr.: Shot himself in the head

In less than two years, Bob Harrell lost all of his $31 million winnings.

He donated his money to those in need and lended some of his cash to those close to him, but his generosity proved to work against him.

Being broke led to a split from his wife and the Texas man was found dead in his home with a gunshot wound to his head.

Before committing suicide, he said, “winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”


These tragic stories read like something out of a horror movie, rather than a list of people who have experienced a huge windfall. 

Have you ever thought that if you just had a little more your life would be more complete? If only you had just a little more money, or fame, or success?  It’s hard to see the downside to more success, but it’s there … hidden in the human heart.  Jealousy, greed, betrayal and even murder have been the experiences of many who thought all of their troubles were finally behind them.  

But the subtle dangers of too much success aren’t limited to how others might respond.  Human nature doesn’t typically do well with too much privilege or too much temptation.  Money combines these two forces into a potent cocktail.  Priorities become skewed while pride and ego overcome good judgment.

While worldly success promises to solve all of our worries, the reality is that it is just as likely to give us far worse things to worry about.  This is why the Bible offers us this solemn warning:

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:10). 

Take Your Anti-Infidelity Pill Every Day

Marriage Betrayal Sexual Promiscuity

Source: “Just How Many Spouses Cheat?” by Karlyn Bowman, published FORBES, 6/29/09

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-11-29

Scripture: Hebrews 13:4

Author: Illustration Exchange


How “affair proof” is your marriage? If you’re like most people, you think, "That could never happen to us.” But truth be told, affairs happen more often than any of us would care to acknowledge. Though in our rapidly changing culture, we are increasingly more aware of affairs “out there” somewhere, we still cling to the notion that infidelity couldn’t and shouldn’t happen within our own marriage. So, statistically speaking, what is the likelihood your own marriage might be affected by infidelity?

[Tom] Smith, who directs the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, has spent years steeped in the academic and popular polls on the subject. … In a 2006 paper Smith reported: “The best estimates are that about 3% to 4% of currently married people have a sexual partner besides their spouse in a given year and about 15% to 18% of ever-married people have had a sexual partner other than their spouse while married.”

Many studies have cited slightly lower figures, and some have cited significantly higher. Average them out and researchers have found that somewhere between 18-25% of all married persons have had at least one sexual encounter with someone other than their own spouse. That number is high all by itself, but consider the fact that there are two people in every marriage and that statistic stands to have even greater impact on a marriage relationship.


With statistics like that, we’d be well advised to do whatever we can to inoculate our own marriages against the virulent threat of infidelity. Open communication, accountability, cultivating friendship and shared experiences, purposefully attending to mutual care, even reading the best books and/or attending marriage retreats, seminars, etc. are all helpful strategies.

Whatever strategies you choose to employ, however, consider the wise counsel of best selling author and infidelity guru Peggy Vaughn:

Preventing affairs in not like having a one-time-inoculation, or even getting occasional booster shots. It’s more like taking a pill every day for the rest of your life.

“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

The Prisoner's Dilemma

Betrayal Trustworthy God's Faithfulness

Source: From “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” by Leon Felkins, June 12, 1998, as cited in HOMILETICS, September 200, p.34

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-02-01

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11



Fear of betrayal and mistrust are strong driving forces in human relationships. Consider the “Prisoner’s Dilemma”:

Two prisoners, let’s call them Joe and Sam, are being held for trial. They are being held in separate cells with no means of communication. The prosecutor offers each of the men a deal. He also discloses to each that the deal was made to the other. The deal he offered is this:
a) If you will confess that the two of you committed the crime and the other guy denies it, we will let you go free and send him up for five years.
b) If you both deny the crime, we have enough circumstantial evidence to put both of you away for two years.
c) If both of you confess to the crime, then you’ll both get four year sentences.
Put yourself in Joe’s position. If Sam stays mum and you sing, you get zero years. If he stays mum and you stay mum, you will each get two years. On the other hand if both of you confess, you both get four years. Finally, if he confesses and you don’t, you will get five years. Whatever Sam does, it is to your advantage to admit your wrongdoing. Of course, Sam is also a rational person and he will therefore, come to the same conclusion. So you both end up confessing which nets a total of eight man-years in the poke. The paradox is, if you had both denied the crime, a total of only four man-years would be spent behind bars. Wait a minute! Can it really be that rationality leads to an inferior result? …
In summary, the Prisoner’s Dilemma model postulates a condition in which the rational action of each individual is to not cooperate with each other (that is, to defect or betray one another), yet, if both parties act rationally, each party’s reward is less than it would have been if both acted irrationally and cooperated! There is an advantage for both prisoners in remaining silent, thereby guaranteeing both a relatively light sentence.


In this scenario, the legal system stacks the deck so that you actually choose a harsher sentence out fear of betrayal. If both parties had been confident of the other’s cooperation (and loyalty) they would have both gotten a lighter sentence. But both feared the others betrayal so both “sang” out of self-preservation, and ironically landed themselves in jail for 4 years!

It comes down to this, we can't trust each other even when it is in our best interest to do so. We know the worst to be true of ourselves, so we expect the worst from our fellow man, as well. Foolish men!
But not so with God. He is the one person we can count on to always choose our best interest, even ahead of His own.
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
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