July 27, 2014
READ: James 1:19-27
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry (v.19).
If you engage in any form of social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.), you’ve probably read something that made your blood boil. I’m not sure that we’ve figured out how to have meaningful conversation around divisive topics in the virtual world. Is it even possible?
For believers in Jesus, James provides an appropriate online ethic: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry” (James 1:19). How much of the bickering on the World Wide Web would come to a grinding halt if our society lived by those words?
James doesn’t promote his instruction as something simply necessary for polite, civil behaviour. He doesn’t merely recite the appropriate range of good manners. Instead, James insists that believers in Jesus must choose to live contrary to our natural inclinations because “human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires” (v.20). Our angry rhetoric, no matter how much it might appear to reflect God’s truth, doesn’t reflect how He transforms hearts. Jesus’ truth isn’t a list of abstract ideals but a life we actually live in the power of the Holy Spirit. We practise the way of Jesus and embody our faith.
God doesn’t fly off the handle in anger at the world He loves. Rather, God’s love is “patient and kind. . . . It does not demand its own way” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
How we give away the truth is just as important as whether or not we possess it. According to James, the two can’t be separated. If we’re to announce Jesus’ message, we must allow this truth to sink into our own hearts and minds. May it transform us into the kind of people who can be—through tears, hope, joy and much love—God’s good news for the world. —Winn Collier
365-day plan› John 7:1-31
Read all of 1 Corinthians 13. What are the descriptors of genuine love? How do they fit with James’ admonition for us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry”?
In what relationships do you need to be quicker to listen and slower to speak? Where do you sense God inviting you to replace anger with love?