19You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. 21Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
22But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act — they will be blessed in their doing.
I know I am a passionate person. I can get riled up about whatever it is I am passionate about, whether it be something that makes me excited, happy, nervous, sad, or angry. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, and am not good at hiding emotion. I tend to feel before I think.
Sometimes these emotions can be a great thing. God wants us to be passionate about the way we are living our lives, and have strong feelings and convictions. He reminds us, however, that we should be “slow to anger.” Anger does not help us to be the best person and Christ-follower that we can be. Anger can put up barriers between ourselves and God, between ourselves and others. I don’t believe that God is saying that we should never be angry. Some anger is healthy. He is saying, rather, that we should be slow to anger, that we should think before we react.
Today’s reading also gives another piece of great advice. We are advised to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” What great advice for all situations in life! So often it is easy to get caught up in our own words, our own opinions, and our own situations. If we could only take a second to step back and listen to others more often, not only could we make better decisions on how to react in a given situation, but we could also show others that their words and views are valued. These words are not always easy to follow, but if we work hard to integrate these ideas into our daily lives, not only will we have a closer relationship to Christ, but we will also have a closer relationship to our fellow Christ-followers.
Lord Jesus, teach me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Amen.
Written by Christie Lazarides
Director of Contemporary Worship