James 1, 19-21
Something to read
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 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.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
There are two kinds of anger: the righteous kind and the not-so-righteous kind. The first is typical of God, is not easily aroused, but is determined and purposeful in its expression. The second is typical of us fallen human beings – all too quick and all too destructive. James is not calling us to a life that knows no anger. He is calling us to purify that anger so that it works out the righteous purposes of God. There is a lot to be angry about in the way our world is today.
If we are too afraid to be angry about it, too afraid that we will not be able to be angry without sinning, we will never have the energy to see real change take place. We need to embrace and purify our anger so that it becomes that righteous anger that Scripture calls ‘zeal’. As Christians we are not nearly angry enough – zealous enough – about what is going on in the world today.
Something to do
Try to identify the symptoms of rising anger in yourself – do you get a knot in your stomach, start talking more loudly, feel on edge and agitated? Next time you feel like this, stop and reflect – what am I angry about, and why? And then find a way to purify that anger so that it has a positive outcome, not a destructive one.
Something to pray
Lord, give me that slow-burn-but-determined anger that you have. And as it burns within me, also give me grace to purify my heart so that that anger fulfils your righteous purposes.
Today's contributor is JUST LIVING, a fresh expression of church in Devon devoted to the Christian pursuit of justice for the poor and closely linked to Christian Aid.