Most of us are probably more familiar with the verse preceding the one I referenced in the title of this post. James 1:19 says “This you know, my beloved brethren (talking about the will of God bearing fruit). But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;” That’s the part that I think most people would be the familiar with.
Today I want to focus on something that I learned this week about the next verse, though. James 1:20 says, “for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” I love studying the Word of God because it is living and active. Even if you’ve never read many or even some of the books of the Bible, in my mind, James is one of the books that is more popular because it is easy to read and very applicable to our lives. I have probably read this verse 100 times and on the hundred and first time I learned something new that I want to share with you.
For me, it pertains specifically to how I relate to my much younger siblings and how I parent my 2 1/2 year-old son. However, I think the truth rings just as true for any circumstance in life where anger can be involved.
One of the specific definitions listed for anger in Strong’s concordance is “anger exhibited in punishment.” My displays of anger to try to punish does not make the other person acceptable to God. And because training in righteousness is the goal of discipline, I’m basically wasting my time getting angry.
So the next time I find myself getting a little agitated, I am going to try to heed God’s Word of being slow to the anger and a quick listener. No matter how awesome my lecture is, man’s anger does not produce God’s righteousness. It is our job to understand and communicate God’s words, not to speak according to our own ideas. The commentary by Matthew Henry gave this quote by a Dr. Manton: “That if we were a swift to hear as we are ready to speak there would be less of wrath, and more of profit, in our meetings.”