One of the greatest things about sports is that it elicits such deep emotional responses in us. You can see joy, fear, sorrow, loss, and everything else in the human experience enveloped in the games we play and watch. At times, however, our emotional responses go across the line of what is good and proper—and we see or feel a dangerous anger. Whether it’s fans breaking into fistfights in the stands or throwing things onto the floor or field, players taking a swing at competitors or officials, or even teammates in angry tirades against one another or their own coaches on the sidelines or in the media, the games that are supposed to entertain us seem to generate an awful lot of anger—and anger management seems to be sadly lacking on our fields of play.
The reality of life being hard can create an angry response at our circumstances or our disappointments—our anger can also be directed at others or even at God Himself. Those angry responses, however, can discredit our own lives and dishonor our Lord. The Bible tells us that one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit in the life of a Christ-follower is self-control—and when we begin to feel the fires of anger in our hearts, self-control is a valuable thing indeed. In the Old Testament, such self-control is applauded by the wise King Solomon who wrote, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Proverbs 16:32). We might blame others, or circumstances, or God for our situation—but we alone are responsible for our emotions and our emotional responses to life and to people, and we must be willing to own our anger so that, by the strength of the Holy Spirit, it can be controlled. The only alternative is an explosion that can create huge damage in our lives, and in the lives of those we love.
Join us tomorrow on Sports Spectrum radio as we take a further look at how anger can impact our lives. Also, for further information on this important subject, check out these booklets:
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain