Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. 

James 1:19-21 New Living Translation (NLT)

As I process through this next uncomfortable truth, there I several things that continue to rattle around in my brain. 

Quick to listen.  Yep. I get it. I need to stop thinking ahead to what my response or input will be.  I need to listen.  I need to hear. People want to be heard.  Stop thinking about what I am going to say and start really listening. I want to talk WITH people who hear me, and I take the time to hear them.

 Slow to speak. I find that eating a banana when on the phone can really help with this (thanks mom). No really, it fills my mouth so I cannot talk and it is quiet to chew. I also drink lots of water. I always take a BIG glass of water to meetings I am not leading. Drinking water gives me the chance to pause - and think before I open my mouth. When I go into a face to face setting where I know there will be group discussion I try and make sure I have water (or coffee) to sip - again my mouth is full and thus I am quiet. Also, when I am not talking, it makes the listening thing easier (see above).

Slow to become angry. Well, now James is really getting personal isn’t he. It doesn’t say “never become angry”, but it is pretty clear that anger should not be my default response.  

Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. Great, now it’s some truth about my anger and God's anger. My anger can, will, and always does get in the way of how God and I can do life together. My anger is a GREAT BIG WALL. God gets angry. Sometimes God gets very angry. But, is what angers me the same as what angers God? Do I even know what truly angers Him? My anger rarely creates or reflects in me or those around me the characteristics of my Creator.  My anger usually isn’t about God at all. It’s usually about my pride, my ego, my desire, what I want or like or don’t want or don’t like; the bottom line is that my anger is usually about me, or someone close to me getting their feelings stepped on. And that’s a problem.

Get rid of filth and accept the word God has planted. There it is; free will again. I get to choose. I have the ability to set aside all the junk that is not of God.  And this isn’t junk that just happened to me, it’s stuff I stepped right into the middle of.  I can decide to embrace the work that God is doing in me.  Life isn’t something that just happens to me. I am not just along for the ride. I can choose to listen, I can exercise control with the words that do or don’t come out of my mouth; anger isn’t my only option; the junk doesn’t have to weigh me down or trip me up; if I am willing to accept it – God’s power is enough.

So these 3 simple verses really aren’t that simple at all. For me to live these truths out in my daily journey, it will take conscious obedience on my part and regular great big doses of God’s transforming power.  God is faithful.

God, keep working on me. Shape me, mold me, and transform me. I want my “defaults” to reflect your love, your character and your righteousness. I know it’s a great big task – but you are a great big God. Amen.


No comments:

Post a Comment