My dear brothers and sisters, 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.
Christians are to seek to readily obey this verse by reacting to a conflict calmly by hearing/listening rather than speaking. James does not tell us to listen to others before speaking simply because it is polite to do so. The hearing that James commands is a purposeful hearing that is designed to result in a wise response that is free from haste and anger. A wise response is one which is thoughtful, loving, and biblically driven. The result of a quick and angry response is almost always sin.
The Bible says our tongue is like a fire, and that a small fire can burn down a large forest. The problem is that we don’t realize how much trouble we can cause by our words until after we’ve said something. We must be careful about the words we choose, especially when we’re really angry.
A good bit of wisdom to remember from the book of Proverbs that applies to many different situations that we face on a daily basis is Proverbs 15:1-2: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. This passage, along with James 1:19-20, applies to our friendships, marriages, communication with our employees or with our bosses, with strangers, etc.
If Christians humbly receive and follow the exhortations found in this passage, times of conflict will be dealt with in a way that brings glory to God. The temptation to participate in the sins of the world is and will continue to be a struggle for every Christian. Christians must rely on God and his Word in order to be successful in their fight against sin.
When we are sinned against and feel ourselves getting angry, we must seek to respond with wisdom in a righteous manner instead of responding quickly with anger. Yes, this is hard and takes self-discipline which should remind us to pray regularly for God to help us do what is difficult and be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. We must always keep in mind that God responds to our daily sin against him with mercy, love, patience, compassion, etc., and we must seek to have the same reaction toward those who sin against us.
If you have sinned against someone lately by responding to them quickly and with anger, please consider humbling yourself before God and that person by asking both parties to forgive you for sinning against them. Yes, this is a hard and humbling thing to do, but please remember that Jesus Christ, who died a very hard and humbling death, commands us to confess our sins.
One who genuinely repents of a sin is forgiven for that sin. Without the forgiveness of God which only comes through genuine faith and repentance there is no hope for sinners like you and me. Salvation is a one time event, but because of the captivity of our sinful bodies we must continue to ask God to forgive us when we sin against Him and others. Join with me in praising God for his forgiveness! What a kind and gracious God we serve! Amen.
Scripture of the day: The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. 28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues ~ Proverbs 17:27,28 NIV
Pastor Peter Okereke Jr.
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