7 Deadly Sins: Anger

Name that Coach!
In college basketball, the name of this Coach is synonymous with greatness and winning. This Coach is one who represents high principles, expectations and demands for his players, his coaching staff and, most of all, himself. But he is foremost an educator. His ability to teach young men the game of basketball and the game of life is one of his most noted characteristics.

No other coach can cite NCAA and NIT championships and Olympic and Pan American gold medals among his achievements. There are only two coaches in the history of collegiate basketball who have won more than the three national championships this Coach has won during his career.

In 1989, this Coach became the winningest coach in Big Ten history.

This Coach is … Coach Bobby Knight!

Could this Coach be the same as … (and note some of this content is disputed.)
In 1979, this Coach was arrested for assaulting a police officer during the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico. He was angry that a practice gymnasium was not opened to his team.

This coach pulled a player off the court by his jersey in 1976, threw a chair across the court in protest of a referee’s call during a 1985 game and was known to put a straight-arm Darth Vader chokehold on one of his own players. He allegedly kicked his own sonduring a 1993 game (Knight claims he actually kicked a chair).

He  berated a NCAA university volunteer at a 1998 news conference, for which the school was later fined $30,000. The school was once again fined in 1999, this time for $10,000 for the Coach’s derogatory remarks about a referee. A school secretary also accused Knight of throwing a potted plant at her, and the assistant coach claimed that he threw him off a chair, and punched him in the chest after  overhearing him criticizing his program and methods. The assistant coach sued for assault and received an out-of-court settlement of $35,000 from school.

Again, Coach Bobby Knight! Coach Bobby Knight even has his own reality tv show, “Knight School”, where Texas Tech students compete to join the team as a non-scholarship player.

Another article continues …
Knight dramatizes an ethical dilemma in the longer term. We are approaching the day when we will be able to engineer personality traits into, or out of, the human makeup. When we come to bioengineering the next generation of coaches, do we intend to leave out the anger? Would the human race be better off without rage? Would competitive sports survive without it? Forget coaching basketball. How about professional football?

Is anger desirable or undesirable? Is anger a hateful and disfiguring manifestation? Or is it an effective, animating instrument?

The world is divided between those who consider anger to be a form of temporary insanity and those who believe it to be a sign of strength of character, a weapon in the hands of the righteous, an instrument of justice. The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics says primly that “anger… is found in the divine character, as it is always found in any strong human character.”

The encyclopaedia goes on to describe divine wrath: “He is the covenant God of his people. He seeks their salvation. If he is angry, it is when the conditions under which alone he can work out that salvation are infringed, and his purpose of mercy is imperiled.”

Coach Knight thinks of himself and his team along the same lines. Everybody (basketball coach, biogeneticist) wants to be God.

Could it be that our anger is us wanting to be God? We talked about the sin of pride being rooted in wanting to be God? Let’s look at anger a little closer.

You can check out the info on Bobby Knight from sources, such as, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Knight.

Anger is a God-given emotion
Ephesian 4.17-29  “In your anger do not sin.” (Verse 26)
Proverbs 29.6-11 “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” (verse 11)
John 2.13-22 Jesus experienced anger in the temple. This anger was because the temple, the place of worship, was turned into a marketplace.

Righteous Anger or Righteous Indignation
is anger against what violates God’s way, and/or hurts others.

Few can claim: Few do not have personal self-interest mixed up in it. Jesus was angry because the place that was to give honor to his Father was not being used for that purpose.

“Only the anger of a humble person has the moral force that can be rightly labeled “righteous indignation. Only the truly humble can be angry without sinning.” (D&DR)

Do we get angry at the important things or the trifles in life? So many time we get angry at the dumbest things. Righteous indignation challenges to get angry at the important things: the poor, the needy, the AIDs crisis in Africa. And I even challenge whether we have to move beyond anger to truly minister to these needs, to truly be effective.

Romans 12.19-21 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.”

2 Kinds of Anger
Powder Keg
Shout for attention; a warning that something is wrong. Must examine and discover the source or our misery: repair of relationship?

Crock Pot
Simmers and brews for a long period of time until, finally, there is an eruption.

How would you label Bobby Knight?

Either can lead to sin. Explosive anger can cause physical abuse of spouse of child. In 1990, 1/7 American couples experienced some form of physical abuse in the last year.

3 Essentials
We must:

  • Accept and own our anger.
  • Learn to understand it.
  • Express our anger in appropriate, nondestructive, nonsinful ways.

James 1.19-21 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

List five times I’ve been angry the past month. Identify two occasions of greatest anger. Were they powder keg or crock-pot anger? Do they indicate a strained or broken relationship? Do they indicate stress in your work? Is it unfairness of life? (Life isn’t fair; life isn’t God. See Psalm145 on the goodness of God). What does anger tell me about myself and what is going on in my life?

Do not make room for the devil
Ephesians 4.27: “Do not give the devil a foothold.”
Unresolved anger (especially crock-pot anger) invites:
Resentment that lead us to self-hate and hatred of other;
Bitterness that mushrooms as it feeds on the real and/or imagined wrongs done to us;
Malignant grudges that destroy us, not the one against whom we have the grudges;
Hostility that make us suspicious of the motives of others, turns others into enemies, and makes us defensive in our reactions and responses.

Suffocated anger: the mark of the moralist—the man trying to be good all by himself … Localize the blame in ourselves and have it burned away into the hot fire of grace.” –Olsson
We must depend upon God and his grace to take away the sin of anger.

4 Areas of Discipline
Hanging on
Can’t get over anger if we hang on to it.
List keeping
Keeps us fixated on past events and emotions. We are forever victimized; and forever on the lookout for more of the same.
Revealing our anger others
Keeping thoughts and feelings to ourselves hold us captive. Break out of the negative cycle by naming and verbalizing reduces our anger and the cause. Receive feedback from others enables us to think clearly.
Forgiveness and anger cannot live together. “Jesus didn’t make us pay. Dare we think we should make others pay?” The only way we can forgive is to accept completely what Christ has done for us. John 19.30, when Jesus died on the cross, paying the price for our sins, he said, “It is finished.”

Let us pray together the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi that asks God to make us an instrument of peace. As we go through this week, let us look for ways to to instruments of peace. Let us ask ourselves, “How can I bring peace to this situation? to this relationship?”

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
O Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

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