Originally published Monday, 28 September 2015.
By Pastor Eric Motl
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19
The Bible makes it clear that God’s people ought to be slow to become angry. Thankfully, as always, it tells us how to accomplish what it demands. In order to be slow to anger one must be quick to listen and slow to speak. Too often we blurt out what we’re feeling or thinking without slowing down to consider the ramifications of our forthrightness. Forthrightness is not always best, particularly if showing how we feel will come out as sin – that is, in anger. As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to slow down our responses in order to filter what comes out of us. The Bible often calls this self-control.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
Again, Scripture tells us that only a fool shows what he’s thinking or feeling quickly, whereas the prudent conceal any inappropriate thoughts or feelings until they get control of themselves.
A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor.
What we need to practice, as followers of Jesus, is slowing down everything that’s going on inside of us in order to filter the good from the bad – to keep the bad from coming out. We need to see every conversation and every circumstance in slow motion, spiritually, in order to properly respond as Jesus would to anything life throws at us. This would greatly help our marriages, our friendships, our churches, and every other relationship we participate in.
He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
Let’s practice slow motion living. Let’s learn to listen more than we speak. As Christians let us be very slow to speak, only letting out what’s been carefully thought about first, in order to bring healing rather than hurt to those around us.
Careless words stab like a sword, but the words of wise people bring healing.
We will be back next Monday for more of the Managing Your Anger Before It manages You series.
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