“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.“ (James 1:19-20)
What is this all about? Time management and application.
-Quick to listen:
Listening can be very rewarding much more than speaking. Most of our learning takes place because we were listening.
-Slow to speak:
Speaking what should be saying rather than what we feel like saying is not always easy, but quite helpful to both the hearers and speakers. It takes time to process what’s been heard, understanding and appreciation in order to provide an instructive and constructive feedback.
-Slow to anger:
Anger is often a product of confusion, an emotion resulted from our understanding having been depleted. The more we give ourselves time to understand, the less we’ll be found overtaken by anger. And we may never fully understand. But with time and maturity, the urge to retaliate or get even is subdued and no longer feels as promising as it did before. Yet, if understanding of the situation is then acquired, we will be glad to not have jumped to conclusion without waiting to gather all the facts.
Rushing to speak, rushing to get angry, refusing to listen, none of these can ever help at attaining righteousness, although they all usually come whenever we’re seeking to be righteous.
God’s righteousness comes by the death of Christ, as ironic as it may sound to say that good came by death. Knowing this would be mind-boggling to the hearers, Christ simply put the benefit of his death this way:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)
Paul reiterated that same understanding in saying,
“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” (1 Corinthians 15:36)
In the end, we can say that we are to give up on seeking to be righteous and instead rejoice at the hearing of the gift of righteousness which comes by God’s forgiveness of all of our sinful debts, past, present, future, continuing into the life, the knowledge of truly knowing that we’re loved by God, being fully certain that we’re loved by Christ, and that in Christ alone God has fully revealed himself to us.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:15-21)
Submit to one another out of reverence, respect, and attention to Christ, not out of fear, anxiety or covetousness.
As Christ once said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Be quick to love, slow to seek being heard, slow to seek our own righteousness, slow to be the judge of others. Judging others had never made us right with God. God made us right with Him through the death of His Son. God made us right by pouring into us, what we could have never known or attained on our own: the knowledge of His neverending love for us.