19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Anger is a powerful emotion. It can be used to bring harm and have a negative impact on those around you. For those of you who have witnessed anger or have been the cause to bring anger, you are aware of the detrimental affects it can have on not only the people involved but yourself as well.
The Bible is clear on not allowing for our anger to get the best of us. The reason why is because it ultimately reflects our sinful nature which is the opposite of righteousness. Anger produces a picture of one who is the opposite of a follower of Christ. It is an emotion that is driven by our fleshly instincts and is ultimately used to take out our own selfish desires that are not being met out on another person.
This passage brings about three basic principles to follow that help us approach our desire to anger.
The first is being “quick to hear”. This means that we should always listen to one another with an open and loving mind. This does not mean that while you are listening to the other, you are formulating an argument in your head to shut down what they are saying. This means that you openly listen and carefully assessing what is being said and respond in Grace.
The second is “slow to speak”. Upon hearing what the other has to say, this passage calls for wisdom in taking in what is being said and taking the time to formulate a gracious and wise response. There are times when the occasion calls for us not to say anything at all and to simply listen. A wise person is not one who is constantly running their mouth, it is someone who can still respond even without saying anything.
The third and last is the most crucial “slow to anger”. If after all this time you feel as though the situation is escalating, these first two steps should have slowed down your desire to anger and be patient. Responding in anger, is one of the easiest things for the human flesh to do. Our defense mechanism are always quick to kick into high gear and the inner lawyer within us suddenly becomes our most highest skill. Yet God calls us to be slow to anger. This does not mean taking our time in becoming anger, the slowness means that if you are wise in your thinking and acting towards a situation, then you won’t end up becoming angry at all.
These things are hard for us to grasp because most if it not all the time, getting angry is easy. Take the time to pray that God will instill in you a spirit of love, patience and self control.
[Featured image from donotdepart.com]