Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Being an Angry Tattle-Tale

Suggested Reading: James 1:12-21

Something I've noticed since having children is how often kids are eager to run and tattle on someone for doing the very thing they were doing just few minutes before. Children universally have the attitude, "It's ok for me to do it to you but you better not do it to me." The younger children just don't grasp the concept that they do the same thing they are mad at someone else for. The older children come up with reasons to justify their behavior, reasons why it's ok for them to behave badly, reasons they deserve to behave badly. Unfortunately, many of us never grow out of that attitude, especially when it comes to anger.

As we get older, we get better and better at coming up with ways to justify our anger. What that person did was wrong, I have the right to lose my temper. I've had a really hard day at work and I don't deserve to be harassed as soon as I walk in the door. And my personal downfall, I had to yell because it's the only way to get you to listen. We each have our own excuses and justifications for mishandling our anger. And we each tend to believe we are justified, even while we judge someone else for the same thing. Jesus's brother James, however, had this to say, 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).

Anger itself is not a sin. But anger tends to retard our judgment, cloud our reasoning, and blind us to rational thought. As a result, anger very often leads us into sin. Quite often, we are justified in our anger and have legitimate reasons to be upset with someone. But acting in our anger does not produce the righteousness of God. Anger can be a wonderful motivator for correcting injustices, but only when we have allowed the heat of our anger to die down so that our good judgment can reassert itself.

You may be dealing with anger today. Perhaps someone has hurt you or hurt someone you love. Perhaps you have been confronted with an injustice that leaves you seething. You are allowed to be angry, even furious. But you must remain quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. You never know when you have misunderstood the situation or when acting in your anger will only make things worse. So before you do anything, take a breather, listen, and think. Allow the heat of the moment to dissipate. You might just save yourself from doing something you'll regret

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