Play Angry… Preach Angry???

Motivational slogans come and go, but here is a new one from the Final Four Wichita State University Wheat Shockers – Play Angry!  

The challenge apparently originated a few weeks ago with Antoine Carr, former Shocker and NBA star, whose number is retired at the top of Koch Arena.  But it caught on and has been used by Coach Gregg Marshall ever since to motivate his team toward passionate effort.  It worked!  They came very close to a Butleresque* appearance in the NCAA championship game before losing in the semis to eventual champion, Louisville.

Welcomed back home last Sunday by appreciative fans, Coach Marshall decided to pass on some life lessons.

Whatever your occupation is, what every you do in your daily life, without hurting anyone else, without being too overtly aggressive, do it with anger… Preach angry, If you are a cab driver, drive angry.  if you are a school teacher, teach angry.  If you are an accountant, count angry.

What?!?   How do you do that?  Okay, Tom, it’s okay… don’t overreact, keep it in context… He is just saying do it with passion, with all out effort.  Okay, I’m sure that’s right.

But why I am still so uneasy about the language?.  Preach angry? Drive angry? Teach angry? Count angry?

Anger in itself is not necessarily bad.  In fact, it’s right to be angry in response to the incessant reports of man’s brutal inhumanity to his fellow men and women; or if you are a witness to evil.

Scripture says in Ephesians 4:26, Be angry. ESV  That’s an imperative, indicating that sometimes anger is the only appropriate response.  But the verse continues, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

What’s the point?  Anger is very dangerous for sinful human beings. If anger is not directed and limited, it easily leads to sinful behavior, as our actions or our words do great damage to ourselves and others. Not sure about angry accountants, but angry drivers and angry teachers scare me.

And when Coach Marshall said, Preach Angry, I don’t know if he was talking about preaching a sermon or some other kind.  But I’ve been in the act of preaching more than once when I realized I was angry.  Was it righteous anger against sin and the devil? Maybe, maybe not. But even if it was righteous anger, the temptation to sinful and damaging anger is encroaching, not far away.

Paul identifies uncontrolled anger as evidence of our surrender to the old sinful nature. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21

Scripture warns, Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19, 20 ESV

Paul again says, Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31, 32

So, be passionate!  Give it all you’ve got for God glorifying work! But be sure your emotional response is under the control of the Holy spirit.

*Butler University of Indianapolis, another mid-major, made it to the Final Four in two recent
successive years, just one Gordon Hayward half-court shot from winning it all  in 2010.

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