So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
The man was known for always getting the job done. The issue was one of how that was accomplished. He had not risen to the position of senior manager because of his gentle demeanor. Loyal to the enterprise in most obvious ways, he prided himself on putting business first. Unfortunately, this meant putting people second or worse. Those who reported to him did not see a go-getter or a hotshot. They saw a man who threw his weight around to get what he wanted out of them by using rage as a tool. That is why it was such a surprise when one of his employees saw him at the county interdenominational conference. That employee never would have guessed that he worked for a brother in Christ.
This passage lets us know some things that stand in the way of God’s righteousness being produced in us. This idea of slowness of speech and anger really rests on two principles. One is time, and the other is self-control, but they work in tandem. Those who do not practice righteousness will hit that boiling point quickly, and they will have a tough time bridling the tongue. They will show themselves to be at the mercy of their emotions when their emotions should be at the mercy of their control. We cannot always control how we feel, but we certainly can control what those feelings produce in us. What we see here is that righteousness cannot be practiced where there is a lack of self-control and deliberate action.
There are times when being slow is not advantageous. Anyone who has raced will agree. There are other times when taking a pause and thinking before moving is the best course of action. Those who walk in righteousness will behave in this deliberate manner. They will work through their emotions before the outburst comes. They will consider the effect of their words before speaking them. The righteous will acknowledge that there is a spiritual component to all of this, and they will want to tread wisely. Father, give us the wisdom necessary to speak and behave deliberately, that we would not hinder your righteousness being produced in us.