James 1: 19 – 21
We have been able to glean at the fact that James’ presentation was limited to the Old Testament because the Book of James was one of the earliest Books written in the New Testament. His Book was a lot different from what Apostle Paul presented because he (James) had not been exposed to the Doctrine of Grace. So he could only write based on what he was exposed to (Old Testament). When Job went through his ordeal, his friends came around, they were looking for something he (Job) had done wrong and their thinking was that Job could offer the necessary sacrifices so that his situation could be turned back. They were wrong!
This is the same mindset we have in the Church today; we believe that things don’t just happen. We believe that if anything bad happens to us, it’s as a result of something we have done wrong; maybe we have sinned. We have projected God as man who must retaliate with a consequence when he is wronged. Although we have become believers, our perception of God and how He operates is still based on the picture painted in the Old Testament. Some of the early disciples like James never believed one could be saved without adding the issue of circumcision and Law; the same never believed that Salvation could be extended to the Gentiles until they had the debate in Acts 15.
Like we mentioned earlier, James had written his Book and there is absolutely nothing we can do about that but the practicality of our Christian life can be drawn out from the same Book. The Book of James isn’t about doctrine but there are some practical issues we can draw out as we did in our last publication. James said every good and perfect gift comes from God, meaning none of them should see their present predicament as coming from God.
The idea is for his audience who are able to decipher between good and bad to then draw conclusions that their situation had not come from God but from something they did wrong which would further make them think that God must be punishing them as a result of the many things they did wrong. This is presenting the gospel of works in a style that almost anyone would believe today. He made a point about them lusting which opens the door to Sin and as a result death comes because the wages of Sin is death.
James went on to emphasize on the issue of anger. I am not convinced that James was talking generally rather I am convinced on the fact that he had to deal with what the people were going through and what he felt was stopping them from “getting the benefits of following God”. There was anger amongst the people and not only did he mention the issue of anger, he proffered a solution to the issue. His idea was that anger would always breed sin, which ends up in death (spiritual).
We can draw out some truths in how James chose to combat the issue of anger. His idea was to educate the people on how good it is to be slow to anger, slow to speak and quick to listen.
The reverse is the case for many of us today, in that we are very quick to speak, slow to listen and eventually very quick to anger. Most times, we get people angry by the many things we say to them. This is mainly because we can’t control our tongue, which is as a result of what we thought we heard even though we didn’t really listen with an attention to detail. We then begin to spill…in our anger.
When we argue or debate as some might want to call it for example, if both parties are not careful they would always be about their next point without realizing that they haven’t been listening to the good points they both have been making. The discussion (debate) will continue to vacillate in circles not knowing they both have been saying the same things, only if they could cultivate the attitude of listening to one another with the intention of understanding every statement or sentence and then build on the discussion. But the reverse is the case and we know what hot arguments turn out to be!
It is not about what we thought was said, but what was actually said. It’s not about what we speculated or are speculating; it’s not about what perspective we have chosen to see things from but what was said. So if I don’t understand what was said, there is that chance to ask questions instead of assuming we heard well. The danger in this is that, when you don’t hear correctly, you have no choice but to make wrong judgments and anger becomes the order of the day; and when you are angry…
The other side of the coin is that, when we are able to hear properly (quick to hear), we are able to process the information we heard and thereby make right judgments which eventually will help us order our conversation aright. We are then able to control our tongue and indirectly we shut anger out of our system.
Apostle Paul also spoke about the possibilities of us becoming angry at times but went on further to say we shouldn’t allow the sun go down while we are still angry. In other words, we should be able to snap out of it when we notice that anger in us. We should be able to control our anger he postulated. As far as James was concerned, anger does not produce the righteousness of God. James referred his audience back to the engrafted Word (the Old Testament then but the New Testament to us Christians today) that has inherent power to save our souls.
I can only agree with C.H Spurgeon when he said, “When I have a hasty thought against a man and wish him out of the world, I have killed him in thought, and even though I may disguise the wish under the expression of wishing him in heaven, there is guilt in the desire. Oh the hard, cruel, black thoughts which men have towards one another, when they are angry; why they kill and slay a thousand times over. These hasty sins are soon forgotten by us, but they are not so soon forgotten by God.”
Anger is a short insanity. The less we do when we go mad the better for everybody, and the less we go mad the better for ourselves. I have to learn to be SLOW TO SPEAK, QUICK TO HEAR AND BE SLOW TO ANGER!
For anger is a state of temporary insanity
Keep it right here and be refreshed!