11. Be slow to anger and quick to listen.
James 1:19 - My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
Ephesians 4:25-27 - Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,and do not give the devil a foothold.
We all know that we should love others. That is the prime directive of being a Christian. But for some reason that is harder to put into practice than it is to proclaim. I wish I had a penny for everyone who told me "The Bible tells me that I have to LOVE that person but it doesn't say that I have to LIKE them." Although I don't agree with that statement I have to admit that some people are harder to love than others.
The problem is that the seeds of hate are planted deep inside us. Paul tells us that we should "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ep 4:31) Why? Because these are the seeds of hate! These seeds can be planted when we get irritated at others because they did or didn't do something we liked. They are watered by tears of our continued frustration with that person. The seeds of bitterness begin to germinate. It doesn't take long for these seeds to become weeds in the garden of love.
So we need to sow seeds of kindness instead. Paul goes on to says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ep 4:32). Jesus forgave us and freed us from sin when we were ugly and filled with sin. While we were yucky and hard to love He loved us to the full extent of giving his life for us (Ro 5:6-8).
So if you are noting that you are starting to become irritated and frustrated with a someone than you need to stop what your doing and go work it out. That's how you get rid of the seeds of hate before they have a chance to get planted.
May God bless you as you shine the light of kindness and compassion into a world that needs to see the love of Christ in us.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God; Thank you for your boundless love. You are compassionate and kind. You forgive me when I don't deserve it. Help me to forgive others and work to shining the light of love to all. Help me to be the man you have called me to be today. In Jesus' name, AMEN!