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. . . the wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, open to reason,
full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere—James 3:17

A lot of men—not every man—but a lot of us struggle to hold back a harsh and judgmental attitude toward the world around us, sometimes even toward those we love the most. In the rush and charge of life, with the volatility of family, the pressure of work, the friction of the world, we too often give in to snap impulses to anger and criticism. They feel right in the moment, but they never are (Proverbs 14:17). More considered, gentler approaches are always better—less destructive, more effective, more powerful (Proverbs 19:11, 29:11; James 3:13-18).

These impulses also reveal something deeper: our pride. If we’re honest, they come from thinking too highly of ourselves, trusting ourselves too much, trusting our wisdom, our capabilities, and our “ways” too much . . . and thinking too little of those of the people around us. But, “God opposes the proud,” as pride leads only to hurt and separation (James 4:6; Proverbs 16:18).

So, we must take ground in this struggle. We mustn’t let another day, another year, another decade slip by, doing nothing. These impulses are too hard on others. We must allow our guide, God the Holy Spirit, to train us in humility, to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).