Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.
Main Readings: Song of Songs 2.8-13; Psalm 45.1-2, 6-9; James 1.17-27; Mark 7.1-8, 14-23 [Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9, Psalm 15]
Supplementary Readings: Psalm 150; Mark 11.12-14, 20-26; Song of Songs 4.7-15; Psalm 15; James 1.1-13
“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1.19)
Growing up in regional Queensland, I played various sports from Under 8s all the way through to current times. As I have grown up, I have always been competitive and my passion is evident for all to see. This can easily lead to being angry with the opposition or a teammate. One of the key challenges for me as a Christian, is to follow Jesus’ teachings in all aspects of my life, and this includes on the sporting field.
Many people say that “What happens on the field stays on the field” or “Once I cross that white line, I am a different person”. James’ words in this verse, call us to a higher counter-cultural standard of being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. Those who trust and obey God learn to adjust the speed of their listening and speaking.
One of the key challenges of James is to not just adopt a works-based mentality, but to follow his words as a response to the incredible grace God has shown us through Jesus. Being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger is a task for every generation in every area of life. For some this can be on the sporting field, in the workplace, at home with family, or even at church.
Our God is so immeasurably gracious towards us; we are called to demonstrate that grace to others, and be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.