James 1: 19b Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
As an athlete I’m sure you have, at some time, had the distinct displeasure of being coached by an angry person. For some reason, coaching seems to attract a number of angry people. Or perhaps sports in general just brings to the surface what is in the heart. I have even seen some shocking transformations of sweet moms into monsters at ice hockey arenas or at the edge of the soccer pitch. There is a scripture that says: “for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34b)
While Bobby Knight, former college basketball coach, is recognized by some as one of the greatest coaches ever, his coaching has been marred by numerous incidents of anger. In fact, Indiana university fired him in 2000 after an unacceptable pattern of behavior including an incident that was captured on camera in which he grabbed one of his players by the neck.[i] It appears that Bobby Knight has no remorse for his behavior as is evidenced by a 2017 interview in which he stated that he hoped that all of those in leadership at Indiana University, who had booted him out, were dead. “I hope they’re all dead.”[ii].
Bobby Knight’s accomplishments are tarnished because of his anger issues. It’s unfortunate because he proved to be a creative coach and perhaps a decent person, but anger has a way of very quickly destroying all. For this reason, Luke instructs: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19b.
There is an issue with all sin, but the Bible seems to draw extra attention to the sin of anger. In fact, the writer of the Proverbs said: “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered,” (Proverbs 22:24). If you are prone to anger it is important to deal with it. It is important to declare some spiritual truths if you are a believer. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—” (Romans 6:6). And, “17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Reminding yourself of the above truths, and humbly submitting yourself to God to allow him to change you, to sanctify you, might be all you need to see a dramatic change in your life in the area of anger. However, if you do not see victory in this area, I would encourage you to seek out Christian counseling. Perhaps there are issues in your past that you don’t even fully recognize, and you have actually never fully worked through them. Pray to God and ask him to lead you to safe Christians who can partner with you in working through past issues of trauma and pain, so that you can have victory in this area of your life.
Anger is serious sin which can quickly destroy what God has built up and it can leave you in a place of despair. Don’t continue to allow Satan to have victory in this area of your life. You are God’s child and he declares life and victory over you.