Back to James chapter one! What a great and needed reminder of Who we need to go to when we face trials. Who better to go to for help than our Creator? He knows us better than anyone! God has given us each a measure of faith and He has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11); a hope or knowing that there is more out there than what we see all around us. A deeper desire and longing that we may not even be able to understand or explain. Then there was the reminder that every good and perfect gift comes from our Heavenly Father who never changes or shifts like shadows! It’s no wonder I never got past verse 19 just meditating on His goodness!
Now., as I read, I find it interesting the very next section begins by saying: “My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”
I’ve got to wonder, why talk about about anger on the heels of faith? Perhaps anger is one of the biggest hindrances to our faith? Anger comes in many forms from injustice to deep wounds to our soul. Some of us go as far as experiencing deep seeded anger at God Himself because of our wounds and grief. It is easy to feel anger when we are treated wrongly, or someone we love is treated unjustly; when we experience losses we don’t understand; when we feel neglected, ignored or invisible; when we feel our prayers go unanswered or are answered differently than we’d hoped.
Let’s look at each of these things James mentions and see how they might fit:
- Quick to listen: We live in a world today of sound bits. We get lots of small bits of information all day through texts, media, and many other sources. Yes, we still have some full conversations but I believe on some level, the sound bites of life tend to damper our listening skills. I believe we get rusty and if someone is too long winded, many either interrupt or zone out. James tells us it is important to be quick to listen; be a good listener.
- Slow to speak: I think James is advising us to be careful. Listen and be present; take a few minutes to really think about what is being said. Hear It out and ponder. Don’t get all fired up, planning your response but truly hear what was said and think about it. Respond instead of reacting. Because you have Listen to the actual heart of what is being said.
- Slow to anger: This is pretty self explanatory. When you are really listening and taming the impulse to react without thinking and trying to fully understand the person, their situation or concerns, and their heart; it is much easier to have an objective and less emotional or angry response. It also helps us to move from opinion, selfish desires, and tunnel vision. When we truly try to see the bigger picture and that there may be multi-facets to the situation or problem and unknown variables— we have a better chance or reaching reasonable outcomes that better serve everyone involved and hopefully avoiding anger outbursts in the process.
There sure is a whole bunch of wisdom in James and we are just 19 verses into the Book! Who says an ancient and timeless book can not be relevant today?!! I’m just a simple lady. I don’t claim or pretend to be a scholar or have any expertise beyond sheer life experience and maybe the school of hard knocks. I can say that I haven’t found many, if any, situations in life that I haven’t been able to search God’s Word and find passages that were relevant and helpful and often times bringing peace and comfort to the situation.
May God bless you and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace! -Numbers 2:24-26