19 Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. 20 This is because an angry person doesn’t produce God’s righteousness. – James 1: 19-20
I wish I could take them back – the words I have spoken in anger. I have damaged relationships, hurt people, and regretted with the words I have spoken when I was angry. It doesn’t make it right, but I’m sure I’m not alone in my regret.
Today’s verse from James is a smack-you-upside-the-head with a 2×4 reminder. First, listening is important. It’s hard to listen when our emotions are getting the best of us. Second, there is wisdom in not saying anything when angry, or at least being slow to speak. And thirdly, be slow to anger.
I tend to be a passionate and emotional person, so anger comes quickly to me. (So does joy, but that’s not the problem.) As I continue to grow and mature, I’ve learned that most the stuff that upsets me or gets me angry, really wasn’t worth getting angry over. That’s not to say we shouldn’t get angry, or that there is never a reason to be angry, even Jesus got angry sometimes. (see Mark 10: 13-14 or Mark 11: 15-17)
It’s being slow to anger and how we handle ourselves when we are angry that makes the difference.
So, here are some questions for reflection today:
What makes you angry? Who do you get angry with the most?
What can you do to be more “slow to anger”?
Where can you be “quick to listen” today?
Who do you still need to apologize to for words you spoke in anger?
Prayer: Lord, you know I’m not a patient person. Help me to be more patient, to be slow to anger, to be quick to listen, to speak words that build others up instead of tearing others down. Amen