Monday, June 21, 2010

Quick & Slow


Something happened the other day, and it made me ANGRY. It takes a lot to ruffle my feathers, but the stars aligned last week, and I was furious. Couldn't see straight. Had to physically remove myself from the room and walk around the building a couple of times, just to calm down. Pretty sure my eyes were flashing red flames.

T.I.C.K.E.D.

As I steamed around in circles outside, I felt - even more than outrage - a strong sense that the Lord was trying to teach me something amid the rush of emotions I was experiencing: this, MLH, was an opportunity to practice what you preach.

And then James 1:19-20 came to mind...

"My dear brothers, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."

God's word weighed heavily on my heart, but I kept fuming. To keep myself from climbing the walls, I focused on the "quick and slow" parts. Over and over, I repeated verse 19. I even wrote it down on a post-it and hung it in my line of sight.

Quick and slow. Quick and slow.

And then it hit me. The reason we are to be quick and slow. Right there in verse 20: anger does not bring about the righteousness that GOD desires.

So then I thought, "well, what does?"

Hebrews 12:11 tells us that discipline produces a harvest of righteousness, but that discipline isn't fun; in fact, it is PAINful. Then James tells us in 3:18 that peacemakers who sow peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

So being a "peacemaker" means fighting off my inclination to flip the table and make some (justified, I think) accusations...to wail until I feel like I'm heard...to be angry with those who have wronged me.

I do not want to do that.

I want to get in someone's face and "be right."

But being right doesn't necessarily = being righteous.

If I apply my life to these Biblical principles, then my reaction must be the opposite of what I want to do. Being quick to listen and slow to anger requires practice!! Discipline!! These things do not come to me naturally!!

If I am to pursue the righteousness He has called me into, I must
CHOOSE to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

Ouch. This discipline thing is hard.

~

Thinking on these things this week:

Proverbs 29:11 - A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

Ephesians 4:1 - As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

~

Love y'all,

MLH

*photo found @ http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/

4 comments:

Bethany said...

Very well said, MLH :). I, too, struggle with the desire to temper-tantrum from time to time. Luckily for me, when I get upset, I freeze; I think of all kinds of zingers I should have said about two hours after the fact. If I didn't have this "blessing" ;) - my professional life would be very different right now I'm afraid. It hasn't been bad lately, but about a year ago, when it looked like I was on the expressway to unemployment, I got my share of testing... and then, a few months later when there was a lot of turnover in my department, I felt what I thought was righteous anger because I was mad on behalf of someone else, who I thought had been wronged. Luckily, I continue to suffer from my anger-induced speech impediment... and at this stage of my life, I hope I never recover. God has been looking out for me - forcing the slowness because I'm certain I wouldn't be capable of it on my own, and thankfully, He must have other plans for me in my cube - I should have been gone from there no less than 5 or 6 times for various reasons, and yet, I'm still there. And if it's part of his plan, that's okay by me! :)

MLH said...

You bring up a great point, Bethy: righteous anger. I know Jesus felt and expressed anger (the table-flipping reference a la clearing the temple), so I have wondered about righteous anger versus righteousness in spite of anger. Anyone else think on this??

Jenny said...

All I know is I'm glad you weren't mad at me. :P

Teeheehee.

I'll ponder on righteous anger, though. It seems complicated.

Kathryn said...

Boy did I need to read this one! I just spent 2 hours of precious Greg and Katie time venting to him about a couple that ruffles my feathers every week. Thank you Micah for going before me in this lesson!

Love you,
Mrs. Stayte