quick to listen. slow to get angry.
One of my biggest revelations of 2020: getting close to Jesus changes everything.
This isn’t new; it’s something I’ve known. But as this year has been filled with unexpected changes and difficulties, I’ve seen just how selfish and fearful I can be without him. I keep hitting points where I start to rely on my own strength again. For all the bumps in the road, I’ve found freedom and confidence I never knew before. And that sometimes leads me to do my own thing and lose the hunger for Jesus.
For all the bumps in the road, I’ve found freedom and confidence I never knew before.
But then I stop and I find how selfish I’m being, how little grace I have for other people, and how quickly I run my mouth off in the name of passion. I can be so quick to get angry when I think someone is being ignorant, rude, or treating me unfairly. I lose sight of what it is to have radical grace on people and listen to where they’re at, and I expect them to fit into my perfect narrative.
I lose sight of what it is to have radical grace on people and listen to where they’re at, and I expect them to fit into my perfect narrative.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always speak highly of people when I feel they’ve wronged me. And I justify it. Because it’s often true and I feel that it’s valid to “process” with others. But then a point hits where it’s no longer processing. It’s no longer seeking safe people to do it with, but it’s just belittling and tearing down. I’ll find myself fearful that words will get back to people, and I’ll think of excuses to justify why I was complaining about them. But that’s not Christlike, and that’s not Jesus.
But then a point hits where it’s no longer processing and it’s no longer seeking safe people to do it with, but it’s just belittling and tearing down.
Then I look at this world. There’s a lot of brokenness right now. I will never tell people to stay silent about injustices and evil in the world. We should speak out and speak up and plead with people to understand. We shouldn’t be passive and we shouldn’t let people trample on us. I don’t think Jesus did that. But his grace was still so different than the narrative of hate and anger I see everywhere I look.
I will never tell people to stay silent about injustices and evil in the world.
Let’s look at social media. Once again, I will admit that I fed into this narrative of anger that we see everywhere. Between the fake news, radical headlines, hate speech, and Facebook arguments, it’s hard to look through and see the good. Once again, I’m not telling people to be quiet or to not talk about social justice issues. I will never stop doing that and pleading with others as well. But there’s hypocrisy everywhere I look. Whether it’s convincing ourselves that our curated and biased feeds are obviously filled with truth, or angrily unfollowing everyone who has a different view, we’re still fueled by anger.
I think there’s room for anger, and I will never pretend I understand certain points of view that I just really can’t. Righteous anger is good and valid. But hate will not push us forward. And that’s where Jesus comes in.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” -James 1:19.
Shoot, this gets me. This is all I’ve heard ringing in my head this last week. And it made me look my anger and my words right in the face. I saw the ways my pride had moved away from righteous anger that wants equality and justice into a prideful view that I’m right and I’m superior to those on an opposing side. This goes for social media and the world issues just as much as it goes for tension in relationships and complaining about difficulties. This left me asking the questions, “what if I listened more?” and “what if I sought the heart of Jesus.”
I saw the ways my pride had moved away from righteous anger that wants equality and justice into a prideful view that I’m right and I’m superior to those on an opposing side.
This doesn’t excuse hurtful or insensitive things people say. But I think we’ve seen that hate and disregard for opposing opinions will not get us where we want to be. As I read this verse I realize that I don’t think we can get there without the heart of Jesus. Maybe it doesn’t make logical sense if you don’t believe in the existence of a God, but let me tell you friends how different our hearts are postured when we take a second to fall before Jesus and ask him for his grace and his heart.
As I read this verse I realize that I don’t think we can get there without the heart of Jesus.
Jesus died for the oppressed AND the oppressor. That’s a tough thought. It doesn’t excuse evil, but it does make me want to fall on my face and ask how the love of Jesus can come into play and change hearts to change this narrative, over angry Instagram posts, and broken divided family relationships.
And when it’s all too heavy, we can give it to him. He says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30.