Each week, I’m meeting with one of the senior high guys in our group, and we’re reading the book of James together. I love James, because its so practical, and hits on so many issues that I deal with, and that so many other people deal with.
Today’s reading covers James 1:19-21 as part of what we are looking at this week. You’ve likely heard this passage before. It says:
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because our anger does not produce the righeousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”
I know these verses well, I memorized them years ago, and have taught them dozens of times. Knowing about being slow to speak and get angry, it makes perfect sense that yesterday in the car, I got incredibly mad at a conversation I was having, and threw my phone on the floor when I hung up. All in front of my fourteen year old daughter.
Oh yeah, I’m the world’s best dad, for sure.
So, I apologi
I read these verses, and know the sequence I’m supposed to do. I need to listen first, and listen for a long time. I need to stop and measure my words before I speak. I need to be patient, and not let anger run. That’s what I need to do. Sometimes it’s even what I actually do. Other times….not so much.zed as we pulled up to school to drop her off. But it had already messed up her morning. I texted later, and asked for her forgiveness again. She forgave me, but the damage was done. I had blown it. I hate it when I do that. But I did anyway, and have to own it.
So verse 21 is hitting home. Right now, I need to keep working to get rid of moral filth in my life. I need to fight for purity in my thoughts, patience in my actions, humility in my heart, generosity in my possessions, and gratitude in my desires. So many of those areas are the places I struggle to keep filth out, and because of that I become a person who believes they are being cheated, slighted, ignored, and unjustly accused. Of course my anger runs the day when I believe and act on those values. Which leads to me having to apologize…alot.
If you believe James has it right, then it would make sense to ask what is the “filth” that is lying to you, and causing you to react in anger? What lies are you holding onto that bite you when you’re not looking? Lust, greed, self-importance, hoping to find joy in other people or things, all of this stuff is just lies. Lies that lead to a quick temper, a quick tongue, and a very slow ear.
And maybe a broken cell phone.