“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” — James 1:19
The Sons of Thunder
Many athletes are fathers and may feel a special responsibility to give comfort and reassurance to their children as we face unsettling conflicts in our communities and nation. If we thought about a modern parable, picture a father having a heart-to-heart talk with his son who is a wrestler for the high school team. He enjoyed lifting weights and getting stronger as he trained for matches. One day he sat down and talked to his father about being the toughest guy in town. He wouldn’t let anybody disrespect him.
His daddy said God gave young men strength to use wisely. “Son, do you want to have lots of friends?” The son said he did want to have friends. “Well, if you lose your cool every time somebody says something you don’t like, then you will get in lots of trouble. Why not use that strength to work on engines and change tires with me in the shop?”
When Jesus came, He became like a father to His disciples. James and John were hot-tempered and outspoken, but Jesus taught them self-control by His words and example. Jesus called them “The Sons of Thunder” and they wanted to send fire down from Heaven on the Samaritans. Jesus said no. “But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village” (Luke 9:55-56, NKJV).
Since Jesus is the Prince of Peace, He wants us to learn to live in peace. If we mature into manhood, then we learn to use our physical strength to help others and not to harm them. Our angry outbursts bring regret but don’t fix any problems. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.
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