"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life 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." James 1:18-21
The theme of James is "practical Christianity". The Book of James provides the answer to "what should a Christian look like?".
What can be more practical than the issue of dealing with anger? James makes some very interesting observations regarding anger. He says that an angry heart is not receptive to the Word of God.
Why is that?
Let's examine these several verses:
Anger is reactive and not open to instruction. When you are angry you are not usually open to truth. Neither you mind nor your spirit are receptive to what others have to say. You do not wanted to listen you want to lash out.
Anger is usually not based in righteousness. There is a righteous anger but what is described here is not that. This is referring to negative emotions expressed in angry ways. In fact, he insinuates that their anger originated from their immorality. Unrighteousness is not usually good soil for the seeds of truth to land in.
As powerful as the truth of God's Word may be - and it is - it is rendered ineffective by those who do not receive it with the proper attitude or mindset.
Therein is the problem. Anger and unrighteous attitudes cannot be overcome apart from the power of God's word. But that power cannot be recieved into a proud or arrogant spirit. So, angry people not given to God's Word tend to get angrier and less open to truth and that leader to further unrighteousness.
On a more positive note James reflects on the advantages of humility. It leads to hearing the Word of truth and hearing what it says.
So, we can say that anger resists the Word while humility recieves it.
Which best describes your attitude toward the truth of God's Word, anger or humility?
Do you need to be more open to listening to others whom you might be inclined to disagree with?
Is there any area of anger that is keeping you from receiving the Word of God?
If so, what will you do about it?