Friday, March 24, 2017

Self Control

UV 2235/10000 Self Control
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
James 1 v 19

Scripture is replete with principles for practical and real life. This uni-verse teaches us how we could have avoided the thousand arguments and conflicts we were drawn into in the past. We need to slow down our speech, our desire to get words off our tongue as soon as we think it and instead focus on listening to people, their desires, their hurts, their feelings, their issues. There is a competition always between our tongues and our ears. Invariably, the tongues win the race. But it is a sign of maturity, wisdom, godly discipline if we slow down our tongues and let our ears win. It is godly discipline for it is the pattern of the Lord. He is always listening and rarely speaks.

St James used the metaphor of the bridling a horse when it came to controlling our tongues. It implies that the tongues are powerful like horses. Like a horse that is ten times more powerful than its rider, the tiny tongue is more powerful that its user. Though it is powerful it is hidden and not visible to the user. A horse when it is disciplined is useful for many purposes, to lift people and heavy weights. A horse is muzzled or its mouth covered to keep it focussed on its path. Similarly, we too should ‘muzzle’ our mouths from time to time to retain our focus on the path ahead. If our tongues are under the perfect control of the rider- the Holy Spirit and acts or speaks only with the expressed and specific direction of the Holy Spirit, it can be a source of life and blessing to both the speaker and the listeners. The reins to control our tongues are the truths of the Word and the question whether it is the apt time, place and manner to speak it. A wise person speaks sparingly and when he does it is to impact or to impart certain truth that will benefit the listeners. Instead, one should always be eager and ready to listen. We must quieten our own thoughts in order to listen to the word of the Lord. Having heard from Him, we should then take pains or discipline ourselves to do or obey or carry out what the Lord has asked us to do. A manger leader or manager is a hearer-doer, thinker-speaker. As a thumb rule, he listens to at least double of what he speaks, going by the body code that we have two ears and only one mouth or tongue.

Anger or wrath does not add up to the righteousness, peace and glory of God. Uncontrolled wrath damages both the one who is giving vent to it as well as the one who is the recipient. Often, it aggravates matters and makes an already bad situation worse. It affects health, relationships and peace of mind adversely. We need to be imitators of Jehovah and of Jesus, His Son who are slow to anger and quick to forgive. The spirit that God has given us is not one of anger or lack of self control but one of love, power and self control. We should instead exercise patience and understanding in dealing with our loved ones, our colleagues, our subordinates, neighbours and strangers.

Prateep V Philip

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