Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: On Anger and Righteousness


Is Your Anger Useful?
A devotional by Ginger Solomon


"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." 
~James 1:19-20 (ESV) 

I’m a verse-mapper. I love words and finding out their original meanings. When I did these verses, I found some things that I want to share with you. I know these are familiar verses. If you’ve been in church for any length of time, you’ve probably heard them. Bear with me for a moment.

Quick - in the Greek language, it means to do something without a time lapse.
Hear - listen; to pay attention to what is being said.

When my children were little, I used to tell them that obedience meant they needed to do what I said right away. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Here, we see that God is instructing us to be “quick to hear.” But what does that mean?

I think it means we must put away our thoughts, our responses, our phones, and LISTEN to what the person is saying, not only with their words but their tone and body language.

Imagine for a moment…

A little girl says, “I don’t want to go.”

It’s a simple statement. It could be taken many different ways. Without context, it is impossible to know WHY the child doesn’t want to go.

If then she stomps her foot and crosses her arms, then we know she’s angry.

If her lip trembles and tears appear, she could be sad.


If she withdraws within herself and barely whispers the words, she might be scared.

Without paying attention, without LISTENING, the hearer would miss important clues. Sometimes it matters why she doesn’t want to go. A LOT.

Let’s move on… I think I’ve made my point.

Slow - deliberate, unhurried — moving forward after considering the facts
Anger - comes from a position of being steadfastly opposed to someone; not a sudden outburst.

“Slow to speak” is self-explanatory. We need to consider what has been said, what has happened BEFORE we open our mouths to spout our opinions. We have to engage our brains in the process.

“Slow to anger” — this one caught me a little off guard. I’ve always considered anger to be something that spouts forth quickly like a geyser. But this word doesn’t mean that. It’s like the trickle of water that wears away the rocks and dirt to become a raging river. It grows over time. Not in hours or days, but in weeks, months, or years.

Produce - work, accomplish a trade/job; acquire by trade
Righteousness - justice; approved of God; what is deemed right by the Lord

“The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (vs. 20, ESV) Ouch!

God doesn’t need our anger, righteous or otherwise.

This anger is the same word as above. It’s not explosive. It’s built up. Even justified.

I’ve been there. I’ve been angry enough to know that if the person on the other end of my wrath had been in the room, or even within driving distance, I might have taken matters into my own hands. I would have done harm to the person. And yet, Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (ESV)

God doesn’t want or need our anger. It doesn’t produce the results He’s aiming for. Not in us, and not in the other person’s life. As hard as it is, God wants us to forgive and let Him deal with it. In one day. Before the sun goes down. But maybe you’re like me and it requires doing it over and over again, day after day, until one day it happens. I’ve forgiven the person, and the anger is gone.

Until we let God take care of it, nothing positive will happen, not underneath the surface, anyway. Not in the heart. And God is ALWAYS more concerned with a person’s heart than He is with their outward actions.

I pray your heart and actions align with the will of God today and every day. May you see everyone through His eyes of love.

Blessings,

Ginger

~*~
Author bio: 
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). 

She writes or reads inspirational romance of any genre, and if she’s busy homeschooling, doing laundry, or fixing dinner, books are on her mind. 

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and blogs regularly for InspyRomance.com and at gingersolomon.com.

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