Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: ~James 1:19
A lady once came to Billy Sunday and attempted to rationalize her angry outbursts. She said, “There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper. I blow up, and then it’s all over.” Mr. Sunday replied, “So does a shotgun, and look at the damage it leaves behind!” (Source: Soul Prescription, Bill Bright and Henry Brandt) This morning, let us see the strong admonition to slow down when it comes to wrath.
We see the definition.
Wrath is anger that is unrestrained. It is an excessive anger that manifests itself in punishing the person or object the anger is pointed towards. The exercise of wrath has malicious intent. A person filled with “wrath is cruel,” according to Proverbs 27:4. The underlying, root problem in wrath is sinful pride, as mentioned in Proverbs 21:24. A person consumed with wrath stirs up strife. Wrath is a sin of the spirit and, in most cases, is linked to unresolved bitterness, as we can see in Ephesians 4:31. The presence of wrath grieves the Holy Spirit, as stated in Ephesians 4:30.
We see the destruction.
Wrath leaves behind it a path of terrible destruction. Words can be said in wrath that can never be taken back. Wrath destroys relationships. Wrath can divide a husband and wife, and children and parents. Wrath can result in physical hurt, or, even worse, in death. A person filled with wrath is mean, cruel, and, typically, a bully in attitude. Wrath can leave long-term emotional wounds on the one it afflicts. Children who grow up in a home where there is wrath will tend to be emotionally insecure or wrathful individuals themselves. The presence of wrath ultimately is a time bomb that will destroy the one under its power.
We see the deterrent.
“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Wrath is a hindrance to God’s holiness. It is a work of the flesh. The presence of wrath does not represent God’s working in a matter. The presence of wrath clearly demonstrates a believer is out of the will of God. The sin of wrath results in other sins, a tarnished testimony, and a loss of credibility. The working of wrath always leads to foolish and regretful behavior. God is never pleased when there is wrath in our life.
We see the defense.
James said, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Listen carefully, but slow down. Put the brakes on making an impulsive reaction to something that is said. Take a deep breath and let things settle down before you decide to react. Walk away from a situation that could become hotly contentious. Heap coals of fire on the head of an enemy. Overcome evil with good. As much as you possibly can, be at peace with all men. Be slow to speak and slow to wrath. Remember, you might not be able to change a person that is pushing you to the limit, but you can change you.
Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to slow down in being reactionary, angry, and overcome with wrath. Slow down, and you will be happy that you avoided a fatal incident.
Have a peaceful God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Genesis 48-50