James 1:19-20 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Years ago, when my children were small, I was surprised to find that I was becoming impatient. My words came too quickly and they weren’t “hearing” the fact that I was repeating and getting louder didn’t help.
These verses in James changed my life. I became aware that I was getting impatient because I couldn’t get my point across. I was desperate for them to listen and obey and I was getting more and more impatient in the process.
But the point in this verse was that the anger of man…my anger…was not going to bring about the righteousness of God in them…or in me. I realized what would develop character in the three of us, was to learn to be more patient, more strategic in disciplining…not impatience and exasperation. Taking on this discipline myself would bring new creativity and character into my life, model it to my children and create in them more of the righteous life that God desires.
Fast forward forty-something years later. Here we are in the world of texting and tweeting and Facebook. Our responsibility to apply these verses is even greater, as our sphere of influence is greater.
We can hide and snipe and think we do no harm…maybe even do a little good. Don’t kid yourself. We are creating impatient character within ourselves and…stoking the fire in others.
When you think of where our nation (the world) is today…the lack of harmony, the killing, leaders who snipe at each other, lie and harm to gain whatever it is that they want, at times you might feel helpless. I know I do.
But we can pray, and we can do our part in our own sphere of influence. We can decide to take these verse on as our own…right within our home…and beyond.
Too little influence? Whether in your family or outside your family, your example…your life…is influencing the character of those in your sphere! Period.
Whether or not you have chosen to be a word-sniper in your home, or on your electronics, you are (directly or indirectly) influencing lives. You might be influencing the life of someone inside or outside of your family that you have no idea is paying attention. It could be the life of someone who is confused and hurting and you don’t even know it.
Maybe even someone with a Facebook account and…a weapon in a closet that (because of your choice to take on the discipline of living by these verses) will never find its way into his or her hand.
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.