During our Sunday Dinner at BCM, we talked about the Letter of James. We started by discussing who James is. I genuinely believe that this James is the brother of Jesus and the leader of the Church in Jerusalem during Acts 15. We learned that he and his followers were stoned to death.
When looking at the letter, we found that there were similarities between the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus and the Book of Proverbs. It was almost as if James was trying to communicate pockets of wisdom in a way that was familiar to his audience. We also noticed that the first chapter was an excellent summary of ideas for the rest of the letter. Like a bed of seeds that would blossom into flowers as the message went on.
One of the things that stuck out to me was his discussion on anger. James says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Anger is something I know. When I began to explore why I get angry, I realized that many times it is because I have run out of patience. Couple that with the word used by James “produce” in “produce the righteousness that God desires,” and I found myself thinking about Paul’s fruit. You know, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control; that fruit. I find that when my patience ends, my anger begins. Anyone else notice this truth in their own lives? Anger leaves to quick words, hurtful words, it is a violent act. Even when we lash out in anger from being wounded, I find it is our own quick, usually not thought out well, response trying to dish out justice. Yet, I see in anger very little justice is given. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a time and place for anger. Anger is part of our humanity and part of our emotions, and it can be good to express anger. However, I don’t think this is the anger James is talking about.
James is talking about the anger you have on the road when you have been driving all day, and someone cuts you off, and you blow up. James is talking about the anger you have when you snap at your kids because you worked all day and had told them not to do something and they did it, so you explode. James is talking about someone doing something stupid at work and you blowing up at them telling how stupid they were for doing it. James is talking about when we lash out usually with the result of hurting someone one. James I believe would say that is not living out your faith and is your proof of not following Jesus.
So I hope that as you go forward this day that you draw nearer to Jesus. I pray that you may cultivate the fruit of the spirit that brings patience and more. My hope is your patient road is long and never-ending.