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