You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. James 1:19-20
I came across a story a few days ago about a monk who wanted to spend some quiet time on the lake, praying and connecting with God through nature. He rowed out to the center of the lake and was leaning back in his boat on the pond, letting the boat drift a bit while he closed his eyes. It was relaxing. He prayed some. He daydreamed some. He was at peace.
Then, suddenly, there was a slight jolt. Another boat had hit his! He felt anger swelling up inside of him as he turned to yell at the person steering the other boat.
As he yelled out, he saw that the other boat was empty. No one was out to disturb him. No one had intentionally bumped into him.
The boats had simply drifted in the water and accidentally hit each other.*
Have you ever felt anger swell up inside, suddenly, so that sharp words come out of your mouth, maybe without real cause?
When the unexpected happens, how do you react? How do you want to react?
These are two different questions which cause us to examine ourselves.
In the book of James, we read that it is important to “be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” (James 1:22) James goes on to say that if we can do this, we will be blessed “in our doing.”
There is an irony in the monk story. The irony is that it is by spending time with God in prayer and meditation that we learn to pause before we speak. It is in prayer that we learn to become slow in anger.
James has some pretty strong words to say about the importance of becoming the Christian we want to be. It requires total transformation on the inside and the outside--in our hearts, in our souls, and in our actions.
I am glad we share this journey of growing in faith together. It is a joy to be one of your pastors.
* This story is adapted from a story originally shared by Rajesh Arora.