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Quick to Hear, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 On the day we celebrate the Church's birthday, it's easier to focus on tragedy. But let us consider this: they were told, not to go boldly forth from the place where Jesus ascended, but were told, instead, to wait. They stood up and went to an upper room, and prayed. They waited on the Lord, rather than use their excitement and capitalize on their vision of the risen Jesus ascended in to heaven. They were quick to hear and slow to speak. Whenever there is a national tragedy, controversy, or many things that cause people to be stirred up, one usually hears this response, almost immediately "If you don't say anything, you're just as guilty!" Sometimes this is true: when we see something that is not right, and we fail to address it, we can be complicit. Preachers, Philosophers, and wise men have all echoed this maxim since ancient times: Silence gives consent. But what about hasty words that lead to angry actions that can't be taken back? When is it right to express our anger? How should Christians respond when the world burns around them? Why, in the same way we always have. Loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. Words stir upthe crowd in anger, and so me must weigh each one carefully. Words burn down neighborhoods, so we need to handle them with care. Words cause neighbor to hate neighbor for little to no reason, so we must make sure our words speak life. We need to "Seek Justice, love mercy" yes, but we also need to "walk humbly with the Lord our God" (Micah 6:8). Impatience is the reason for harsh rhetoric. It is the reason so many strive against one another instead of seeking understanding. Let us, then, seek WISDOM. Let us seek to use the RIGHT words that bring unity, justice, and love, not words that stir up against our neighbors. Dr, Tony Evans put it this way: "Until we become kingdom-minded and not denominationally, class or racially-minded, we will not be Christ-minded. Until we are Christ-minded, we will not be socially-minded to address the divisions between us." We need wisdom, and ONLY that wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus. Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, loved ones, and let us, by the power of God bring life and unity to our broken world.

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