James tells me, Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. For the anger of a man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Implicit in his statement is the concept that followers of God are motivated by achieving the righteousness of God. I find that a worthy goal.
How then, do I allow my daily walk to reflect that value? What things must I abandon, modify, or implement to accomplish this goal?
Perhaps we can find a hint of the answer by returning to the verse? Quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger… This, given the impulsive nature of our culture, might prove more of a challenge.
Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook are all popular methods of “instant” communication. We can all post or repost whatever catchy little phrase or meme’ that says exactly what we believe. Perhaps the shock value of the photo will tug at the hearts of others exactly as it has tugged at our own hearts. Maybe untold thousands will abandon long held beliefs and positions because of this pitiful little puppy, or an unborn baby, or picture of the latest school shooting. After all, it made me look.
Unfortunately, these don’t draw the reflective attention of those who disagree with the position. For most who hold an opposing view, it tends to cause them to dismiss, discount, or disregard the “repost”. Our friends who hold the same position might repost the statement. You won’t find someone who views the world differently stating, “I’m reposting this because I’ve never considered this in this light.”
What does it matter, what we post or don’t post? Perhaps nothing at all. But, perhaps it matters a lot. Maybe it caters to our impulsive nature, so that we say things without regard to how it might seem to others. Perhaps the posts that express our frustration with the “police” or the “police haters”, or the “gun advocate” or the “gun opponent”, or whatever other issue we want to speak about… perhaps it arises from our fears and biases.
If I don’t take the moment to reflect, “Will this achieve the righteousness of God?” I may be speaking too rashly. I might be correct in my position, but closing the doors for meaningful conversations.
Before the next Twitter post, ask yourself, “Will this come across in such a way as to draw together or to push apart?” If it incites strong emotion in you, reflect on how it might be seen by those who disagree. After all, the goal is not to take a side, the goal is to be like God.