Dean thought that was a good idea and pointed out the connection between my mouth, mood and morals that is found in the juxtaposition of the verse that follows: "Therefore get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."
I don't know why I didn't spot the connection in these verses before now, because I certainly have seen how the two - morals and mouth - connect in my own life. Whenever I am struggling with any moral temptation I find that I am more likely to become angry and shoot my mouth off. My temper is shorter and my tongue is quicker.
Dean suggested I ask God three questions in light of what James writes:
- Show me where I chose not to listen well to others or to you.
- Show me where I spoke too quickly or where I spoke and you desired my silence.
- Show me where I displayed anger that offended and help me understand what "right" I chose not to surrender to you.
I did not respond well. I became angry, and rather quickly. After all, there was a $2000 Mac on my desk, a check for $150 that someone left so their kids could attend an upcoming youth conference. I had a file cabinet full of confidential counseling files that were all vulnerable. These warranted the door being locked. On reflection, however, I had to ask myself, "Had the door been locked, would my response have been any different?"
Truthfully, probably not. I sort of feel like my office is mine. And that when someone uses it without my knowledge it is a violation or personal affront - sort of like someone using my toothbrush at summer camp. The bottom line is that it is MINE. That, in regards to question number three above, is the right that I chose not to surrender to God yesterday. And that is why I failed the test. Concern for the security of my files, and the protection of my office equipment is legitimate, but should only have produced concern, not anger.
Bottom line, I've got a ways to go to. I am still learning, still be shaped, molded and, at times, chastened by God. But at least I get the sense that I am starting to figure some things out.