I’m a Tony Dungy fan. I’ve read one book of his and started another. There’s no football coach I respect more than Dungy.
Now enter the anti-Dungy: Rex Ryan the white, overweight, cocky, loud mouth, cursing football coach. And everyone is enamored with this joker, with the exception of Dungy. Check out his reaction to Rex Ryan’s expletive laden Hard Knocks
(behind the scenes HBO video series on different football teams).
When asked if Dungy would hire Rex Ryan to be the coach of his team, he says, “no.” He even went so far as hoping commissioner Roger Goodell would tell him to tone it down.
Most people, who think solely on the pragmatic level say, “Dungy does it his way and it works and Ryan does it his way and it works.”
So could you, in good conscience, hire a Ryan type if a Dungy type weren’t available?
Can or should you expect a non-Christian to act like a Christian (assumption that cussing, without using the Lord’s name in vain as a football coach is never allowed)? Let’s just say that a coach wins games, genuinely cares about players and their families, promotes social activism in the community, disciplines, suspends, or releases repeat offenders, but cusses profusely. Would you then not want him to be your coach? Should you not want him to be your coach?
While none of you-no offense to my few blog readers-will likely ever be the GM of an NFL team, or any professional team for that matter, it does raise a good question. What should I expect in regards to behavior of n0n-believers?
Dungy believes in integrating his faith into all of his life, and for that I think he sets forth a wonderful example. Nevertheless hear are two truths to consider when approaching something like this.
1.) Total Depravity
We should not expect non-Christians to always act like Christians; they ultimately can’t because the don’t have faith. When a Great White Shark eats a seal, we shouldn’t be angry or surprised with that Great White. He’s only acting like a Great White, the only way he knows how to act. The Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration is a pre-requisite for real life change.
2.) Common grace
We should also not expect non-Christians to be as sinful as possible. We should not be surprised when they follow the law, help old ladies cross the road, love their spouses. So in some ways, we can expect them (minus the ability to please God b/c that only comes by faith) to act certain ways.
I’m working off the assumption that profuse cussing at people probably is dishonoring to God. If I’m right, then the question remains: can we expect certain sins from unbelievers, and even overlook them if they are performing their jobs well?
I think in this case, I would probably be more influenced by #1, and realize Ryan is probably a good coach, probably cares about his players, and is probably concerned with discipline. I would then probably overlook his cussing.
We need to be careful not to expect real life change without the experience of grace. Sometimes I think Dungy lands a bit too heavily on #2.
However, you could also perhaps argue that I do as well, because I expect humility, not arrogance, with those in all forms of leadership. Still, these are some helpful grids to think through when dealing with expectations of unbelievers.