Saved from Anger
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.
James 1:19, NRSV
The letter of James is known for its statements on Christian living and practical wisdom. He gives pretty emphatic moral guidance, contrasting what is acceptable according to the world versus what God Himself thinks. It is not enough to say you trust God and to say you are a Christian. You have to live it; the truth of your words are seen in your life. It’s not even about following your own path and inviting God in now and again. It’s about giving God the reins and risking doing things His way. Trust God and follow Him.
When it comes to our speech we must be measured and, although honest about our beliefs, we need to listen to the opinions of others. It is all too easy to take sides and not listen to the rationale of others; we see it happen all the time and no doubt will experience it more in the run up to the election. Being quick to listen does not assume someone is right or wrong. It means we put aside arrogance and rage, let our judgments about the person go, and see what we might actually learn from what we’re hearing. And when it comes to responding, take a deep breath. Ask if we even need to say anything! James invites us to slow down the speed of our speaking and listening and, in doing so, see how God can save us from anger.
The Rev. Gill Keyworth