This morning, as I was driving through town, something on the radio caught my attention.
“…I’m supposed to be a Christian. Well, I am, but there are just some people who make me have to bite my tongue…”
Isn’t that the truth? Usually, I can keep my cool, but there are some times when I feel I can’t help but talk back. You know what I’m talking about.
That girl accuses you of something you didn’t do…again. Your brother’s friends tease you every single time they come over. That guy cuts you off on the freeway. Someone makes a rude remark about what you believe.
The possibilities are endless and, yet, we’re told by God to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19).
I remember a time when I was constantly teased by a friend’s brother. Though I don’t believe he meant any real harm, it still got on my nerves.
There were a number of times when I wanted to say something back- give him a piece of my mind. Maybe it would’ve made me feel better for a short time, but in the long run? It would’ve made things worse.
I’m not saying you should never speak up. It’s important to talk to someone you trust about the situation. However, we don’t have an excuse to let our words speak out in anger. It simply won’t do any good.
James 1:19-20 says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man [and woman] be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
What you say affects those around you.
Let’s take a look at how Jesus addressed anger and frustration. If you’ve read the 4 gospels, I’m sure you know that Jesus was often the target for ridicule and criticism. Nevertheless, He handled every situation in an honorable way.
There’s nothing wrong with being angry. Jesus, himself, was angry at times, along with many other people in the Bible. What we do with that anger is what counts.
There are 5 key responses that Jesus used when He was being challenged or ridiculed.
1. Walk Away
In Matthew 12:9-15, Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were outraged! How dare Jesus help someone on the Sabbath Day. When they sought to plot against Him, Jesus withdrew from the crowd.
He knew that it would be better to simply walk away than to start a pointless argument.
2. Pause and Pray
John 8:1-11 is the story of the woman caught in adultery. The scribes and Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus and get Him to stone her, but Jesus paused a moment and wrote on the ground.
After a few minutes, He responded with the clever answer, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Convicted by their conscience, the people walked away.
Other times, Jesus left the crowd and took some time by himself to talk to to His Father.
3. Ask a Thought-Provoking Question
Mark 11:27-33 tells of the time when the priests, scribes, and elders came to Jesus to question His authority. Instead of coming back with some rude remark, He asked them a question also.
Sometimes, it’s better to ask a thought-provoking question to get someone to think about what they’re doing rather than start a fight.
4. Speak Up
You’ve probably heard about the time when Jesus turned over all the tables in the temple. When Jesus arrived at the temple, that day, He saw that the temple, which was meant to be a house of worship and prayer, had been turned into a marketplace.
Money changers were taking advantage of the people who had come for Passover and Jesus was angry. This was directly against God’s will!
So, what did He do? He overturned the tables. He set the animals free. He poured out the changers’ money.
Just as Jesus did, there are times when we need to speak up and stand up for what’s right.
This is one of the hardest things to do when someone hurts you, yet, when Jesus was being crucified, He asked God to forgive the people hurting Him (Luke 23:34).
Think of the one person who gets on your last nerve; the person who makes you want to let all your frustration out at once. Examine how you would normally respond to their comments.
Now, challenge yourself. The next time you see this person, follow the instructions of James 1:19. Sure, at first, it may be tough, but trying it won’t hurt anything, right?
The Bible isn’t a list of do’s and don’t’s. Everything in there is there for our benefit. God knows what a live of joy looks like and the fact that He lays it right out in Scripture is pretty amazing!
Put James 1:19 into practice and see where it takes you!
What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comment section below!
Is there someone in your life you have a hard time loving?
How can you live out James 1:19-20 in your everyday life?