James 1:19-20 “This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God”
If there is one thing that every person has in common, it’s that we all lose our patience from time to time. Even the most patient people are impatient sometimes. Certain people annoy us all and we all get rubbed the wrong way in certain situations. How can we overcome this? How can we learn to be more patient? James gives us three very basic things to do in order to become more patient.
Quick to hear. Many times our impatience comes from not truly understanding someone. That might mean we need to listen more closely because we didn’t understand someone the first time they said something, or it may mean that we need to seek to understand who we are dealing with on a deeper level.
Slow to speak. I’ve always heard that the wisest people (and most patient) are the ones who listen first, think second, speak last. There is a lot of wisdom to that. When we seek to understand the situation or who we are dealing with, think about how to handle the situation, and speak last, then we will be more prepared for whatever it is we are dealing with. Too many people have fallen victim of speaking first, thinking later.
Slow to anger. I think this last instruction is a direct result of the first two instructions. When you are quick to hear and slow to speak, you will be slow to anger. The most patient people I know are the people who will meditate on what they are thinking and contemplate the best way to handle the situation or person that is making them impatient. Some of the most anger people I know are people who are “quick tempered.” They are people who react first and think later.
Patience is a hard thing to achieve. There will always be something that annoys you or someone that gets under your skin. Following these three simple instructions can save you a lot of heartache and a lot of trouble. These three simple instructions will save you from fights and arguments. The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. I’ve known some pretty angry people in my lifetime. I’ve known impatience to split churches, ruin relationships, and end marriages. I’ve seen impatience get people into trouble that is beyond repair.
We should be pursuing the righteousness of God. We need to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Be more patient in your daily lives. Take a moment to pray to God and ask Him to help you as you strive to be more patient with the people and situations in your life. When you find yourself getting upset, going to God is going to be your best weapon to fight off the feelings of anger. God will always be by your side.
–Kevin Harrington, East Foothill church of Christ