Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Normal Bad

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
(Jas 1:19-20)

We all get angry sometimes.  It is a normal response.  We should share our feelings.  Sound familiar?  We’re told this about our anger.  We’re supposed to let it go and let someone have it.  We cheer with the hero on the TV show verbally trounces an opponent.  But is this supposed to be what we’re doing?

God is not politically correct and does not call us to be popular or do what we see on TV.  The more I study the Bible the more I am sure our “normal” reaction to everyday events and what we see as “normal” responses on TV are not meant to be normal at all. 

James says to be slow to wrath.  When was the last time I was slow to wrath?  I can get to wrath pretty quickly.  Sometimes I get angry before someone even does something to me, as I’m anticipating it.  Aren’t I smart?!

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
(Jas 3:6-10)

That’s what God thinks about our ability to verbally lash an opponent.  We bless God with the same mouths we curse men, who are made in the image and likeness of God.  Think about that for a moment – we probably wouldn’t dare to think about God or tell God what we tell some people or think of some people, yet they are God’s children as well.  And we’re somehow superior?

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
(Pro 10:19)

Notice it doesn’t say the more we talk, the better we’re doing.  It doesn’t say the better our point in an argument, the more God loves us.  We’re not more blessed if you are the top verbal defender of the truth, be it our truth or even God’s.

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
(Jas 3:13-18)

Those endowed with wisdom and knowledge are not exhorted to great speaking but of meekness of wisdom.  If we are bitter or have strife, it isn’t from God.  Envy and strife go with confusion and evil, not a prize.  We need to remember what it says about the wisdom from above – first pure and then peaceable and then gentle etc.  Ever see that on a TV show?

Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
(Jas 4:11-12)

Speak not evil one of another.  Sounds like gossip.  I think this is an outstanding example of where we can deceive ourselves.  I do it all the time.  I have a purpose for telling so and so about such and such, so it must be okay!  Even if my purpose is weak.  I’m speaking evil of another.  I’m passing judgment.  I’m deciding I’m right.

We’ve been lied to by the TV.  We’ve been lied to by our own flesh.  We think we know more than God and elect to ride our anger out as we lash out at others, all so we can be right.  There’s a lot in the Bible about being righteous, but nothing about proving we’re right.

Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
(Jas 5:8-11)

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