James 1:19-20New King James Version (NKJV): 19) So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20) for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Our natural response, when someone corrects us, as James is doing to the readers of this letter, is to straighten our backs and raise our noses and say, “That’s not me, that’s for someone else!” or to make excuses and say, “Well, it’s not my fault because so and so did and I just reacted.” Well beloved, when we stand before the Lord, just us and Him with those piercing eyes meeting ours, and we see those nail scarred hands and the scars from the cat of nine tails that He endured for us, no word we speak in our own defense will stand.
James is encouraging us to be like Jesus during the time of His trial. During His trial, our Savior was accused unfairly of all kinds of things. He was beaten brutally, his beard was ripped out of His face, thorns were smashed down into His skull, and He allowed them to nail Him to the cross. HE had every right to be angry and would have been justified to call for the armies of Heaven to come destroy His torturers, yet he didn’t. Instead of anger He had compassion as He hung on that cross. He told His Father to forgive us sinners because we had no understanding of what we were doing.
In our lives, those petty annoyances we come across hardly measure up to a percentage of what Jesus endured for us and what He asks us to endure for Him. Even those deep betrayals don’t amount to much when we consider all that Christ endured.
Next time that person comes at you saying stuff that you don’t agree with, whether it’s true or not, hold your tongue. Be quick to hear the voice of God, not all the noise, and slow to speak. Listen for the voice of GOD to instruct you on how to respond, and if He doesn’t say a word, then maybe you shouldn’t either. Sometimes, we need to just be still and know that He is God. He is keeping track and He knows what we must endure for His cause.
Remember, the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” sayeth the LORD.
Our wrath – if left unchecked – will hinder our ability to lead someone to the Lord. The mission you chose to accept when you accepted Christ as your Savior and called Him Lord and Master, was to love that person who is unlovable/unforgivable because Christ loved us while we were in those same shoes. We are to take the grace and mercy that has been extended to us through Christ and extend it to those around us…especially the ones who need it most. Here’s a hint: It’s meant to go to those who we consider to be the hardest to be kind to 😉
I wonder how different things would be if we would take the time to listen, hear, and understand BEFORE we speak! Lord, change US!