19My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
If we are to hear from God, it will be because we are slow to speak. If we intend to learn, we have to practice quick listening and slow speech at the same time. A great talker is rarely a great listener. Those who want to hear God speak will have to be less impressed with the sound of their own voices, and value beyond measure hearing God speak, even if they have to wait.
Hear this, my dear brothers and sisters, we must all be careful to listen. We should only speak when we are sure that we are saying good things. We should not get angry easily. When we are angry, we do not do what God says is right. Therefore, stop doing all those bad things that so easily make you fall.
Quotes on Anger
- "An angry spirit is not an attentive spirit."
- "The ear is never so closed than when anger takes over."
- "When uncontrolled anger comes in, controlled listening and speaking flies out."
- "Whether the anger is expressed outwardly or stored up inwardly, it is a hindrance to a meek and reverent hearing of God's Word."
- "A fiercely argumentative attitude is not conducive to a humble reception of truth."
- See Prov. 16:32; 29:22.
Not necessarily. There are many instances when Jesus became angry (at the money lenders in the temple, for example - Matthew 21:12-13) as did Paul (at fortune telling by the slave girl - Acts 16:16-18). There are sometimes good reasons to get angry, but James is counseling us to consider these reasons carefully and not to 'fly off the handle' as that kind of anger 'does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.'
What does anger lead us into? (Proverbs 14:17, 29:22, Psalm 37:8, Colossians 3:21)
Anger can lead to sin and evil. For example, in anger we may speak and act too quickly with little regard for the consequences. It takes a long time to build up a relationship with another person or to establish a good reputation but a single angry word can tear it down in just a few seconds. What you say when you are angry cannot easily be turned around -- just saying "I'm sorry" doesn't reestablish a friendship or rebuild a reputation. Sometimes, by listening and hearing the other person's point of view, we can see other ways to defuse a bad situation.
The phrase the anger of man stands in sharp contrast to "the righteousness of God."
Our goal is to have the righteousness of God produced in our lives, and anger does not promote righteousness "An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression" (Prov. 29:22).