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Slow to Anger

When we fail to lean on God's strength to restrain our tongue or actions in a heated moment we miss out on an opportunity to grow...

" Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;"

-James 1:19

We live in a time where everyone with a platform feel as though when events happen, they have to give a response. Now, let me clarify. Giving a response isn't a bad thing. However, we all should ask ourselves is my response bringing wisdom, experience, or furthering the discussion; moving the needle forward. I thing this passage is a warning to us to be mindful in what we say and how we say it. It directs us to hear quickly but speak slowly, but why? The "Why?" is what I want to explore in today's blog.

When we intake information, it has to go through many tunnels before we can give a well rounded perspective. When we initially intake information we hear it with our emotions, then our experiences, then our perception of the person speaking or who the news is about. With that, if we respond to quickly we are speaking out of our emotions. If we respond to quickly we fall into the temptation of projecting our experiences onto someone else. If we respond to quickly we rush to conclusions about what is being said, because of how we see the speaker or the person the speaker is referencing. If we work on the first two parts of this passage, that is, "be quick to hear, slow to speak" the next part will almost happen natural; "slow to anger".

Anger, like all emotions, are God given. Sadly, so many people in my Christian walk, only feel comfortable displaying joy/happiness and the only time you feel permitted to show sadness/grief is in the event of someone passing and people will only entertain that emotion for a moment, then people either start avoiding you or trying to quickly rush you through whatever it is that's causing you to feel down. Nevertheless, anger, is one of those emotions that we act doesn't exist amongst believers. Oh, it exist and it's ok to feel, but this is the parameters God has placed on it, cause after all this passage never said DON'T be angry it say's be "slow to anger".

Here are some scriptures about anger:

"In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

-Ephesians 1:26

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

-Ephesians 1:29

...human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. -James 1:20

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

-Ecclesiastes 7:9

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. -Proverbs 14:29

From these passages we can see there is a difference between human anger and godly anger. Human anger is quick, it's a reaction to an event; self serving, but Godly anger is slow, it's anger for what offends God, its aim is to be restorative versus vengeful. To reiterate my previous point anger is an valid emotion, however what triggers it and our response to it shows what rules our heart.

In conclusion, we are to "be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger." Some people are real quick to say "I don't struggle with anger," however keep in mind anger isn't always a physical reaction, but for some it's an inward reaction; a hate for someone. We do not possess the power to carry out James 1:19 within and of ourselves. In order to view this God's why we lean upon God strength. When life happens, when people hit that nerve, cut you off in traffic, come at you wrong when you're grieving or going through hardships are first reaction is to react. However, if it is in your heart to serve the Lord, it He is truly savior and Lord over your life his will and word should be our first go to when we face these things, not trying to get even, not quick to react and speak, but his insight.

The issue we all face when we struggle to lean on God in an heated moment is that:

  1. We don't believe God will respond in the way that we want to respond in that moment.

  2. We acknowledge him as savior, but not as Lord

  3. We don't truly believe God is omniscient (all knowing) or omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time)

When we fail to lean on God's strength to restrain our tongue or actions in a heated moment we miss out on an opportunity to grow. We miss out on an opportunity for him to put to death a certain part of our flesh. We miss out on seeing God work in us and through us as others look at our responses. Look, I get it, I'm human too. I know how much this is easier said than done, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive towards it. The only reason I can piece this blog together is because I've lived and am living through it too. I wish I could tell yawl I've arrived, but like you I am arriving and sharing my experiences along the way hoping that where are experiences intersect I point you in the right direction to the well I draw my strength from.

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