After reading the first chapter of James through slowly several times, here’s what stood out for me:
“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 that God requires.” James 1:19–20
I am particularly struck by the idea that we are to be “slow to anger” because this doesn’t seem to be the case these days. Everyone’s angry about something –we’re angry about politics– often the other side is not just wrong, they’re enemies; we’re angry about how others people should respond to virus — should we continue to wear masks, should the vaccine be required, and so on; we’re angry at people of other races and other Christian denominations. Social media makes it easy to respond in anger quickly, and yet be safely distanced from the repercussions. We can fire off nasty tweets and encourage others to join in, without facing a real person. The verse above warns against this.
God Himself is described in a number of places as being “slow to anger” and as His children, we should imitate Him, not the world. Here’s what else the Bible has to say about being slow to anger:
“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” Proverbs 14:29
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”Proverbs 19:11
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32
“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Psalm 37:8
It sounds like a no-brainer. Even if you don’t want to take the Bible as your guide, scientific studies show that anger can lead to heart disease and strokes, it lowers your immune system, impairs your cognitive skills and affects mental health.
So, before you get angry, stop and think. Anger is destructive in so many ways. Take it slow.
For more on the subject of anger see: