“Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20
Whether it is with strangers in airports, on soccer fields or football fields- and as our kids get a little bit older and more competitive, we find ourselves becoming angry and sometimes,we allow that anger to get out of hand. It happens in the work place, too, and yes, even in “the family of faith” – our churches. It happens especially at home with our spouses, when we don’t see eye to eye in trying to rear our children. And as they become teenagers, we get even more aggravated when we just can’t seem to find a way to connect with them. We think, “Why can’t they see? Why can’t they understand?” Well, guess what? The adolescents say the same thing about parents! I believe we can all stand to hear a word from the Lord today when it comes to anger.
James begins teaching us how to control our anger. We control our anger when we root ourselves in the Word of God. When we align ourselves with the Word that has birthed us, shaped us, and preserves us, and fall in submission to the Word of God, we line up with the character of God. Anger is a journey, isn’t it? Sometimes it begins with a hurt, or when you have been slighted or misunderstood, or maybe when others don’t meet your expectations. You’ve been stabbed in the back, when you’ve been left out, when you are not understood in your desires and your wants. You’re criticized sometimes fairly, but a lot of times, unfairly. You’re irritated. You’re frustrated. Anger is a journey that begins with one of these types of emotions. (You can fill in your own blank about what sets you off.)
But God’s Word gives us this wonderful, simple remedy, two sides of one coin. Be quick to hear, slow to speak. Be good listeners. Be slow talkers. Count to ten before you speak, and that will slow you down on the way to anger. And never, ever let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t let Satan get a foothold on another day of anger. You’ll be glad. I promise you that.