New Testament writer James, writing about FAITH reminds us of four key targets to aim for! First, faith must work; it must produce, it must be visible, and verbal faith is not enough. I would add that, mental faith is deficient, meaning it must inspire action. James 1:19, 20 in the NLT reads; “My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human ager is never a legitimate TOOL (caps mine)to promote God’s righteous purpose.”
Deborah Pegues is a best-selling author of 18 books including the award-winning 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue; an international speaker; former VP of Universal Studios, and founder and CEO of the Pegues Group. Deborah is also a regular featured voice on James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family”broadcast. Recently she began one of her writings by saying, “To have a good relationship with someone, you must have good communication. And good communication is based on two things, talking, and listening. Stop and consider some recent conflicts and try to identify behaviors and attitudes that may have contributed to them. Fears. Insecurity. Jealousy. Stubbornness. Arrogance. Greed. Sin. Rebellion. Unrealistic or unmet expectations. Undefined roles and responsibilities. Differing standards, beliefs, philosophies, or views. Competing desires. Power struggles. Contradictory goals and objectives. Violation of boundaries (spoken or unspoken). Lack of information.”
There is a story told and passed down about a man who showed his father great respect and did whatever asked of him. In this Jewish story, it continues that when his father was about to die, he called his son in and said to the him, ‘Just as you honored me during my lifetime, continue to do so after my death. When you grow angry, hold off from taking any action until the next day.’ Not long after, his father died, and the son left for a business trip that would last a number of years. Unbeknown to him his wife was pregnant when he left. On the day he returned home he was filled with excitement in surprising his wife of his return. When he quietly slipped in the side door, he heard a young man who was in his home talking and laughing with his wife, and immediately assumed she had been unfaithful in his absence, and his anger flared up with vengeance. Reaching for a weapon he had only one thought in mind…to kill this man who was in his house, and with his wife. It was then he remembered the promise he’d made to his father…not to act immediately with anger…and he laid the weapon down. A few moments later he heard his wife say to the stranger in his house, ‘Had your father known you were born, he would be so proud of you! The man suddenly realized the person he almost murdered out of anger, was actually his son.
The tool not meant for use is the anger tool! When a person gives in to anger, his wisdom leaves him, even when ‘he feels’ he is wise! If he has a spiritual gift, his gift leaves him! If he’s been respected by others, when the tool of anger arises unnecessarily, his respect leaves him! Anger hurts no one more than the person who experiences it!
Here’s James 1:19-21 in the Message translation: “Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So, throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.”
Blessings, Psalm 20:7 Dale & Jeannie