“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.”
James 1:19-20 (NIV)
Imagine what a difference it would make if everyone would adopt these three new habits: be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Maybe we would understand what our kids are trying to tell us. Maybe we wouldn’t find ourselves saying the wrong thing…again. Maybe it would become embarrassing to engage in online rantings instead of the norm, and maybe, just maybe, the pundits would have nothing to say.
Anger does not bring about the right kind of living that God desires. King Solomon warned his son that anger is cruel and fury overwhelming and only produces strife, as surely as twisting someone’s nose will make it bleed (Proverbs 27:4, 30:33). Harsh words will stir up anger. A gentle answer, on the other hand, turns away wrath, and wise is the man who does so (Proverbs 15:1, 29:8). Who doesn’t want to be considered wise instead of a fool?
So how does one get a handle on anger? In his book Unoffendable, Brant Hansen suggests that God is the only one with the “right” to be angry—about injustice, about sin, about…well…about anything. And, frankly, if we’re prone to be angry about these things, it would do us well to remember that we have done these very things ourselves! And have been forgiven. Which means we really don’t have the right to point fingers and need to extend forgiveness to others instead of being offended by what they do. When we recognize all this, it frees us up to make the decision to simply be unoffendable all the time, no matter what…to let God be God and carry the anger load.
Think about the area in which you are most prone to be slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry. What affect would it have if you decided to be unoffendable in just that one area?
Father, you know what? I choose to be unoffendable. I choose right now to let go of my supposed right to be angry about others’ hurtful words or differing points of view. I choose to stop comparing and to let you be judge, jury, and rule enforcer. I choose to relate, to love, to be slow to speak and quick to listen.