As we watch anger and rage turning into violence and massive destruction, what is the position that Christians should take? None of us as homo sapiens are immune to emotions and feelings. Even as Christians we tend toward a particular worldview, which when challenged pushes at least one button within us, maybe more. When we go to the Bible we find in James 1:
20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. 23 For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. James 1:20-23 (NLT)
Being angry is one thing, but staying angry is another. As believers we have the grace of God on our lives which gives us the ability to diffuse that anger. The work we have to do is to allow the grace of God to operate in our life. When we do that it’s almost as if a power washer on the inside helps us "get rid of all the filth and evil" in our lives. By constantly keeping the Word of God before our eyes and listening to the preached Word, it "has the power to save (our) souls". We are privileged when we reunite with the family of God in that we have all heaven our disposal to help us navigate through the challenges of this life.
The reverse is of course not listening to God’s Word, and not obeying what you know to be from God. If you fail to appropriate God’s grace and you fall victim to the plots and plans of the enemy of your soul, his ways perpetuate anger, resentment, bitterness, callousness; manifesting itself in every evil work.
James gets even more specific in regards to our controlling ourselves:
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:26-27 (NLT)
Here is another thing we have to do, to control our tongue. This little member can speak life, or it can speak death. The words that we say are not only a reflection of what is in our hearts, but it is a mile marker measuring where we will go. Hateful and unforgiving words tend to bind us up and limit our ability to build healthy relationships. Positive and affirming words tend to lift not only the one hearing those words, but also the one speaking them. We are experiencing in this current age overwhelming pressure to speak, think, and act like popular culture. Being an individual is frowned upon. Aligning yourself with someone unpopular is like you have the plague. Let’s consider one more James -ism:
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, "You must not commit adultery," also said, "You must not murder."So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.
12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. James 2:1 and 8-12 (NLT)
James presents truth in a clear and concise way. When we apply this truth in our lives, blessed are we. When we fail to, well – have you seen today’s news…