Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sunday Lectionary Devotions: Anger

James 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

The chances are something or someone will disagree with you today and you’ll find yourself defending your opinions or making your feelings known. There's nothing wrong with these, but sometimes we go over the top and the point we want to express is not what other people hear.

When James was writing to the Young Christian Church, he knew that the people of God were often divided, defensive and fierce debaters. After all, they were putting their lives on the line for having faith, so they were going to be passionate about their beliefs and opinions. James was reminding them of our Lord’s example of how He was willing to listen before deciding, of how He was willing to wait before acting, of how He was slow to anger instead of acting rashly.

James wanted the church to grow and influence people. Guess what? We want the same things. Battering people with our beliefs is not productive. Patiently listening to people and quietly helping them are two of the greatest witnesses we can bring to others.

Hmmm, seems like I need a double dose of what James is dishing out....

Prayer: Lord Jesus, wherever I am today and whoever I meet today, let me be a patient, caring witness for You. Keep me free from anger and help me to heal wounds that I may have caused when my motives have been questioned, my opinions have been rejected and my beliefs have been confronted. In Your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. He writes the regular devotional Heaven's Highway.

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