Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19)
Pastor John MacArthur once rightly said, “A proud self-esteeming ego is easily angered.” This is the reason we tend to get so easily angered when others insult us, offend us, say hurtful words to us, or simply speak to us, look at us, or treat us in a way or with a tone we don’t think we should be treated with or want to be treated. Most, if not all, people have an overinflated opinion of themselves. We believe we deserve to be treated or spoken to in a certain way, and we are not only offended when others do not treat us or speak to us in the way “we know” we should be treated, we are offended they do not hold the same lofty opinion of us that we do of ourselves. Thus, James says “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (1:19). But why? “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” In the Bible we see God getting angry on many occasions, but God is holy and pure and righteous and just. Thus, when God gets angry, it is always for a good and just reason. Humans, by contrast, are unholy and sinful and wicked and unjust. Thus, when we get angry, it is almost always for sinful, ungodly, unrighteous, and unholy reasons. This is why James says the “anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Nothing good rarely comes from the anger of man—the anger of sinful humans. “Therefore,” he goes on to say, “put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” Anger almost always stems from filthiness and wickedness in our hearts, and we need to put these things aside and humbly bow before God’s word and receive God’s word in our hearts. To deal with anger, we need more of God’s word.
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