The Upper Room Devotion for Wednesday, June 14, 2023, was written by Jennifer Kingsley of Alabama
29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:29-32 NRSV
PAUSE AND CONSIDER
A friend was visiting, and we read The Upper Room together. The passage that day was the parable of the unmerciful servant, and the prayer focus was “Someone I need to forgive.” We talked about the devotion, but I did not think much about it. Later that day, we were shopping together when I received a rude message that made me angry. As I was fuming and complaining to my friend, she gently reminded me of what we had read that morning. She urged me to see the other person’s side and to let go of my anger and my need to be right.
I realized that it is easy to get angry, but my anger does not bring about the righteousness God desires. God gave me the exact words and company I needed that day, even before I knew it. Sometimes, it is easier to get carried away by our feelings than to pause and consider what God is saying about our situation. We have to make a conscious choice to step back and see the situation in the light of God’s word. I hope the next time God speaks to me, I will pause and listen.
“19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be
quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19 NIV
In 1977, the television series The Incredible Hulk debuted. The series followed the plight of Dr. David Banner to find a cure for his gamma radiation poisoning which result in the doctor transforming into a huge green muscle bound creature, fueled by anger, known as The Hulk. Dr. Banner’s signature line: “Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” served as a warning to those who thought they could take advantage of the frail looking doctor. Dr. Banner would go to amazing depths to remain calm and control his anger to prevent The Hulk from being unleashed.
As I read today’s devotion, and pondered the plight of the fictional Dr. Banner, I wondered: What measures do we employ to prevent ourselves from becoming angry? How often do we pause and consider our actions and potential consequences of our angry outburst? Do we surrender to our anger, justifying our words and actions due to a real or perceived offense? Unchecked anger can, and if we are honest, has lead us to behave in ways that we later regretted. James 1:19 offers us wise advice, that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. In seeking to listen and not merely respond, we position ourselves to take a moment to pause, reflect, and evaluate our reactions. Moreover, we demonstrate the self-control that is a fruit of the spirit of God for the maturing follower of Christ.
Heavenly Father, help us to listen to your promptings through your word and those around us. When we face obstacles, help us to trust you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Jennifer Kingsley