Breathe in the Spirit, Exhale Anger

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20. The screen saver on my computer is the Marquee setting with this verse. It’s a good reminder for me because I can forget to listen, be quick to speak or answer an email, and quickly become angry at some irritation of a co-worker or volunteer.

But I do want to live the righteous life that God desires, and so I have provided myself with the frequent screen saver reminder of that my natural reaction to a stressful situation or difficult person will not bring that about. The opposite is also true. Being quick to listen, especially to the Holy Spirit, can bring blessings. Being slow to speak and slow to become angry gives me time to process what has happened and figure out how God would want me to react. And acting or reacting as God would want me to almost always brings about a better result for me and those I work with.

“But what if the other person is really in the wrong?” you ask. That is for God to judge and for Him to deal with that person accordingly. “God does not judge by external appearance.” Galatians 2:6. He knows what is in the heart of all human beings. But when you and I react quickly and angrily, we judge only by external appearances. Our judgment and actions can be clouded by our own pride.

I believe that much of human interaction that goes badly is a matter of pride battling pride. I can be so certain I am right that I can’t see my own part in a dispute. If I am quick to become angry, if I don’t slow down and listen, take time to pray and meditate on the godly response, then I am likely to be guilty of the same prideful actions as the person I have become angry with.

Today I heeded the advice of James. I slowed down and took a deep breath. I didn’t respond immediately as I was tempted to do. I listened to the Holy Spirit and decided I would wait until tomorrow to respond, after I had time to pray about it. Turns out the issue was resolved in my favor by someone with more authority without my having to respond at all. God is good.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


4 Responses

  1. Linda,
    The Spirit working through us is very evident when we let Him take the reins. I am so glad things went the way they did for you in this situation, as the glory truly goes to God. Thank you for your encouragements.
    God Bless

  2. Yes, anger can be a horrible poison. God’s love thru the Holy Spirit fills us completely as we make room for Him. Really good post.

    God bless you,

  3. This is really an important one for us to get, isn’t it Linda? I loved how your situation turned out, as He confirms to you His word. It relates to Jim’s post in a way . . .it’s easier just to react and respond instantly. It takes more time and work to wait and pray . . .to do it the right way. But the results are so much worth it! Thank you Linda for blessing me with this today!

    • Deb, You are right about the connection to Jim’s post. I didn’t consciously remember it when I wrote this, but I’m sure it was in the back of my mind during this situation and was a blessing. Peace, Linda

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