The Everyday Girl Guide to: James and My Life (James 1:19-21)

June 26, 2013

Whenever I get tired (see my earlier blog post here), I tend to lose my temper more.  I’m tired a lot, so struggling with my temper is a pretty constant battle (it has nothing to do with me having a hair-trigger temper, nopenope!).  James, as expected, doesn’t approve in James 1:19-21:

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Okay, there are times when it seems like the Bible is a little more geared for the quiet (meek in spirit, anyone?) than those of us who tend to live life in fifth gear.  But I can’t dispute what this says:

“… human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”  No.  No, it does not.

If you think highly of me, I’d appreciate you stopping right now and going out to, oh, treat yourself to ice cream or something, because I’m about to expose my ugly side.

I have a temper.  Not just a little temper; I have an epic temper.

I have struggled with my temper all my life and it can be triggered by the silliest things sometimes.  The end result, however, is never silly.

It took a pretty in-depth Bible study on anger, a lot of prayer, and a lot of change to start getting my anger under control.  I did it- and I keep working on it- because anger really doesn’t produce righteousness.  Even when I am angry for a righteous cause, I cannot be righteously angry.

I am a volcano… watch me blow!

When my anger breaks loose, my thoughts go to a hard place where there’s no room for compromise.  My verbal filter disappears and I pretty much say exactly what’s on my mind.   The swath of destruction I leave behind is humbling, to say the least.

Jesus only showed one instance of righteous anger… but at least I know righteous anger exists.  My anger, however, is of Moses proportions.  Whether I see someone abusing someone else and I step in to do (verbal) murder or I strike an innocent bystanding rock because people have sinned against God, it’s still wrong.  I’m just glad that God hasn’t yet banned me from the Promised Land because of it.

Because of the way these verses are grouped, though, I’ve started to question my own temper.  “… get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent” implies that a lot of anger issues are due to moral filth in my own heart and the evil that I allow myself to experience.

Ouch!

I love movies… and I happen to love action movies.  Maybe all the violence especially isn’t good for me, though.  Still, I don’t think that’s the real issue.

I think moral filth is all the “stuff” I hang onto in my heart instead of letting go and letting God take care of it.  I know when my temper was the worst, I was struggling mightily with unforgiveness.  It was only when I started to let go of the hurt that I started to not lash out at every little bit.  A little forgiveness goes a long way.

As always, there’s a solution.  Rarely does God not include a solution with the problem.

“… humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

There are three parts to this:

  1. Plant the Word in you.  If I don’t spend time in the Word, it’s not going to be planted.
  2. Accept the Word that is planted.  (Be doers of the word, right?)
  3. Accept the Word humbly.  It’s far too easy to get by on my own conceit.

The good news?  This “can save you”.  I think even those of you who rarely lose your temper can use a little saving now and then.  Me?  I might need it a little more often.

 

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