“But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; because human anger does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.…” (James 1: 19-21)
Indeed, my anger does not “accomplish” the good I supposedly want from the situations and people in my life; the “righteousness of God.” And by “anger” I don’t mean feelings of irritation, hurt, and vulnerability. These need to be recognized, walked through, and healed in the light and humility “of the word implanted,” rather than escaped through anger or “substituted.”
Anger is called a “substitute emotion” because it lets me cover up my pain and vulnerability with the delusion of control and superiority; it lets me be distracted from the “real” issues of fear and/or resentment, which need to be, and indeed can be, healed within me – but not by me, and certainly not by my human anger, however I express it or hide it (either in angry action or apathy, or turning it inward, in depression or self-sabotage). This healing takes time, it takes slowing down – being “slow to speak and slow to anger,” as I take a look at my fears and resentments, and hand them over to God and His grace of forgiveness.
Today let me “be quick to hear” what the Lord’s voice has to say to me through my irritations and hurt. And let me put aside my own interpretations of these things, fed by resentment or fear, and “in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save,” to move me forward toward wholeness and unity, within myself and with others. Lord, let me see in Your light today, embracing Your grace and Your power, rather than escape into the seductive and divisive delusions of anger.