Monday, December 14
Baptized in gas!
Scripture: James 1-5
James 1:19–20 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
James is full of practical advice. In these verses, James tells us that our human anger doesn’t produce the righteousness that God desires—so be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.
My anger doesn’t produce righteousness. Let that sink in!
These verses spoke to me because it seems that everyone, including me, is on edge right now. The pandemic, racial unrest, and political tension have combined to create a toxic atmosphere. As one friend noted, “It’s like everyone has been baptized in gasoline!” Yep. And it only takes one spark, one word to set off a conflagration!
I see it in myself politically right now. Someone says something that I think is ignorant or unfounded, and I just want to walk away and write them off as an idiot. I find myself being slow to listen, quick to speak, quick to get angry…and quick to “cancel” others. I want to be curious, but instead I’m suffering from “hardening of the categories.”
And of course, it’s not just me. Today I got a short, nasty email from someone I don’t even know. She said terrible things. I don’t know what I said or did that set her off! It would have been nice if she had cited my specific offense and asked me what I intended—just have a conversation with me.
That made me think of how I treat those with whom I disagree. Am I treating others as I want to be treated? Am I having the conversation or just dismissing people? Or worse?
So James’ words are very applicable today for me. Be curious. Ask questions. Probe. Engage. Listen. And set aside my anger—it’s not helping anybody, especially me!
Prayer: Lord, this is so hard to do right now. So I need Your help, big time! Please help me be quick to listen (curious), slow to speak and slow to get angry!