Slow Your Anger
Read James 1:19-20
My dear brothers and sister, take note of this: 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.
Take some time to examine your listening and speaking lately. Have you been quick to listen and slow to speak? How quick has your anger been recently?
I don’t know if you spend time on social media or not. But if you do, I am sure you have noticed that many people are struggling with this one. I am willing to admit that I am not exempt! If you aren’t on social media, you can see this play out on the news, the radio, or if you attempt to talk politics at a family reunion.
If we come across a message that we do not agree with, many of us do not take the time to listen. We do not hear the heart of the person speaking. We do not listen to their reasoning or consider their point of view.
Instead, we are thinking of our comebacks while the other person is still talking. We fire back almost immediately with our own arguments. Even worse, we often reply in anger. It is not unusual to respond with name-calling or condescending arrogance. And most disheartening? Many of us behave this way even though we are believers in Jesus Christ.
James is reminding us that it is wise to listen more than we speak and to check our anger. First, in our relationship with God. We should be quick to listen to His Word and slower to speak our own. If we are angry at what God says, we are probably being convicted and need to humbly accept His Word over our own feelings and opinions.
This wisdom also applies to our relationships with other people. Pride says our opinions and thoughts are always right. Humility says God’s Word is always right, and my feelings are fallible. Selfishness says you need to listen to me. Love for my neighbor says I will listen to you more than I talk at you.
And if we disagree? Love for my neighbor says we can do so respectfully. Why? Because human anger does not produce godly righteousness. My anger towards others rarely leads to transformed lifestyles. Nor does it produce righteousness in my own life. Rather, my anger often tempts me to sin.
Father, I want to be righteous as You are. Open my ears to hear Your word and to love my neighbor well by being a good listener. Close my mouth when I need to learn to control my speech. And grant me wisdom and self-control to be able to handle my anger in a way that glorifies You. Amen.