“… quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” great words of wisdom then, and of course equally important today. This is a great reminder that we must thoroughly weigh and consider what is heard, or read before responding.
So what is it that makes us angry? Could it be the sin in our own hearts is exposed? If so, we must slowly and thoroughly examine ourselves with humility to determine the truth. Not so easy is it? Of course our “natural man” fights against this with wrath. We want our defects concealed and lash out when our secrets are exposed.
James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. The difference between follower and disciple, between words and actions, where the rubber meets the road…our actions. If we can’t back up our words with actions we aren’t fooling others, we are kidding ourselves, walking blindly, an imposter.
This delusion can be deadly to our hearts, “…and does not bridle his tongue; but boasts of his works, and speaks ill of his brethren; backbites them, and hurts their names and characters, by private insinuations, and public charges without any foundation; who takes no care of what he says, but gives his tongue a liberty of speaking anything, to the injury of others, and the dishonor of God…” (1) Betrayal, lies, deceit and gossip destroy relationships because trust, a vital component of healthy relationships, is erased.
We need to remember a guiding principle from scripture: Matt 22: 36-40 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
(1) John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible (James 1:26)
Next week: James 2: 1-13 The Sin of Partiality