Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
James 1:19-21 points out to us in no uncertain terms that we are called to a righteous peace before God and before one another. We are ready to hear both from other humans and from God’s Word. We are slow to speak, as we need to take time to understand others well. We are slow to anger. After all, how might I have sinned against others and provoked them to anger rightly?
In a world characterized by increasingly violent and sexually explicit language use, and a world in which people increasingly use their platforms of power to assault others, regularly shutting down actual productive discourse by shows of rage or launching into screaming tantrums, we are told that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires” (James 1:20, NKJV).
Sometimes we are told that the ideas of dignity and morality, as well as respectful speech and actions, are a throwback to the 1950s, some sort of a standard which should no longer apply and which we have superimposed upon the time of the New Testament. Yet this is not the case at all. We can read in the second through fourth century Christian writers that Christianity stood in stark contrast to the greater culture in these specific ways. Christians would refrain from murder, from slander, from using their power to oppress others, from engaging in financial dealings which would bring harm to others, all the kind of things which were PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE IN THE BROADER SOCIETY (yes, I was yelling that).
Christians stand in contrast to their world. And we stand apart from the world in ways that are decidedly good for our world. What if this lifestyle according to God’s Word is rejected by our community? It is still good. Through it we receive the implanted Word, which is able to save our souls.
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