READ : James 1:19-27
At a New Mexico high school football game in 1996 several players on the one team discovered strange cuts on their arms and hands. Some of the gashes were so deep they required stitches. Upon inspection of the equipment of the opposing team, they found two chin-strap buckles sharpened to a razor’s edge on the helmet of one of the linemen. In the pursuing investigation, the offending player’s father admitted to grinding the buckles to their sharpness. Why? Because he was angry for what he thought was excessive head slapping against his son. Hatred and anger out of control are as ugly as those razor-sharp buckles.
The Bible teaches us to be “slow to speak and slow to become angry” (1:19). Not only does this apply to hateful actions but also to the use of our tongues. Failure to curb them by speaking hateful words is an indication that a person’s religion is “useless” (1:26, cev). Taking revenge on those who have harmed us fuels the fires of hatred. But a forgiving heart sparked by kindness offers peace and safety. As Christ silently bore the punishment for our evil, we need also to calm the evil which others do against us. Sure, it is hard. But it is the only way, God’s way.
O God, keep us from hate, and especially revenge. Help us to love our enemies as Jesus taught us. Amen.