James 1:19-21

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:19-21 ESV)

I had a friend that I used to play basketball with, but he was extremely competitive. There is nothing wrong with being competitive but my friend’s competitive nature lead him to get angry about a lot of things. He would often blow up and get mad on the basketball court. He would call fouls on other people when he missed a shot or he would deny that he even touched a guy when the referee called a foul on him. He would get extremely upset over a bad call and on more than one occasion was ejected from a game. The one thing my friend kept missing was that it was the referee’s job to call the fouls, not his.

Like my friend when we are angry we feel confident that we are in the right. Our anger flares up and we do things and say things we wouldn’t ordinarily say. We don’t take time to hear from others because we think we have all the answers. We make bold declarations, we call people names, and in our hearts we feel justified or we feel right about doing it. But the author of James reminds us to pause and listen. We should be, “quick to hear and slow to speak.” Feeling justified in our anger doesn’t make us right. He says, “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” In other words when we feel cheated, hurt or betrayed we need to submit our anger to God. God is the one who judges everything rightly. We need to be quick to listen, not quick to blow our lid. We need to be slow to speak, not slow to hear. The key to overcoming anger is to trust God more than you trust yourself.

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