17/7/11 Isaiah 29-31; James 1
S: James 1:19-20, 26 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. ... If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
O: This is a pastoral letter from James, the brother of Jesus, who was the Bishop of Jerusalem. This was the same James who presided over the First Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), so he was an important leader of the church at that time. In this letter, he gave a lot of advice for good Christian living.
A: I struggle with this. I in my natural self am quick-tempered and outspoken. Over the years I've improved somewhat, but I still have a ways to go in this. There is a fine line between righteous indignation, as Jesus demonstrated during the cleansing of the temple, and the human anger James talks about above, and in these days of seeing the unjust actions of the Malaysian government against BERSIH, I struggle with it even more.
Just today, as I discussed this with some friends in a coffee shop at lunch time, I started speaking louder and louder and finally stood up and gave a loud impromptu speech to the other surprised customers about the unjust actions of the Malaysian government in recent days!
But ultimately, I must remember that I belong first to the Kingdom of God and, as Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world."
As noted in my Life Journal entry from 14/7/11, we must keep in mind that God doesn't take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their wicked ways and live.
P: Father, please help me to subject my anger to You. Help me learn to improve in my ability to bridle my tongue, and to speak a soft word and turn away wrath, even as I seek for Your Kingdom to come and Your will to be done on earth even as it is in heaven. In Jesus' name, amen.