Break the Cycle
“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
These are such simple and direct words, like many in the Bible, showing us the path Christ has for us. Yet they might be some of the most difficult to listen to and abide by. The very core of our human nature goes against this instruction in almost every way. It is not in my nature to listen first, to be slow to react or slow to become angry at the words or deeds of others.
This previous week was a blinding example of how my flesh reacts. I was presented with several frustrating & challenging situations and instead of applying this scripture, I erupted into anger. I chose such a low path and when faced with the consequences and repercussions, I felt like such a failure. Why could I not remember these words and let them guide my decisions? These precious instructions, like so many others, are there for our benefit. We need to only listen to them and bind them in our heart.
I was explaining my struggle to a brother of mine and he directed me to this scripture. I was struck by the phrase “anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” While I never believe that I am perfectly righteous or above any other person, I do seek to be righteous in Him and His glory. The simple truth is this: if I, or any one of us, continue reacting out of anger, we are going to miss what God has in store for us. This is the case with so much of what Christ asks of us.
I can’t say I know exactly what the solution is here. I just know that anger and hate will beget the same kinds of emotions in others. The cycle becomes endless when we fall into the routine or nature where anger is our first reaction. I used to use a particular phrase to a friend of mine that was similar to the catchphrase “Pay it Forward” used by the good deeds movement. Mine was “Break the Cycle.” If I choose to respond in love and kindness, maybe the next person will do the same and it will continue on and on.
I have resolved to pray not to have these emotions or to simply exercise control over them and not react in a negative way. I encourage all of us to apply this verse so that we never miss out on the life God has in store for us through His righteousness.