James 1:20 For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires]. (Amplified)
One of my all time favorite films is Chariots of Fire* – the 1981 British film that tells the
fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics. One is Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and the other is Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.
In the film, Harold Abrahams is a gifted runner who was stunned by being beaten in a race by Liddell. He recognized the need to run faster, so he approached Sam Mussabini to become his coach. After watching Abrahams run, Mussabini said to him, “I can find you another two yards.” Two yards to a sprinter can be the difference between the Gold medal and being an ‘also ran’. Abrahams embraced the good news that Mussabini could enable him to improve.
There were things Abrahams needed to change in order to experience the excellence he was capable of – and he committed himself to that process. This is such a vital principle that we need to understand in dealing with the ‘stuff’ in our lives that we must continue to deal with. There are habits or remnants of habits that might not keep us from being ‘good’ or ‘better’, but they can definitely keep us from becoming the best that we can be.
Yesterday I wrote of my experience at Grad School where I was totally unaware of becoming angry. In that classroom discussion I was so angry that ‘steam was coming out of my ears!’ Talk about being blind to the obvious! Our anger does not promote the righteousness of God. It is a habit that will promote unrighteousness.
Thank God the Lord made me aware of this problem and enabled me to effectively deal with anger over the years. He has done the same with many Christians. But how many of us recognize that there may still be subtle remnants of anger that pop up in our lives. Such remnants keep us from the excellence we are capable of and that God expects from us. Let us remember that no matter how much we improve, the Lord can always find another ‘two yards’ within us.