jc week 1 devotional 75 words ONLY
Read: James 1
Scripture has much to say about managing conflict in all sorts of situations. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9, English Standard Version). Essentially, conflict management and resolution is all about “peacemaking.” In an effort to become effective peacemakers in the world, we will not only learn techniques to help our efforts but will also look at what Scripture says. As we journey together over the next five weeks, we will be examining the Book of James for our devotional time together. We will examine one chapter per week by paying special attention to specific ideas directly related to culture and conflict management. This week, please read James 1.
In James 1:5-8, James tells us that God generously gives wisdom to all who ask in faith. Scott McKnight (2011) made this comment about wisdom in the Book of James:
Wisdom is more than an intelligent sagaciousness that has the ability to spin out potent proverbs for specific situations: it is a kind of life that pursues “justice” (1:20), “love” 2:8-11), and “peace” (3:18) along properly moral lines--that is without resorting to violence or volatile language. To ask for “wisdom” is almost to ask for an ability to ‘endure’ with the ethic of Jesus (justice, love, and peace) when pressure is put on people to live otherwise. (emphasis added, p. 86)
McKnight helps us see the close connection James made between wisdom and using our words in peaceful ways. What is amazing is that God is always willing to give wisdom generously to those who ask it.
As we move through the chapter to 1:19-20, James helps us understand that a wise use of words is knowing when not to speak but to use another God-given faculty: listening. In fact, he commands us to be “quick to hear.” The kind of hearing that James has in mind is not simply that we hear the sound that others make but that we take in and consider deeply what the other person is saying. Have you ever noticed that when we do not practice good listening, we often are quick to become angry? Often when we respond in anger it is because we want to control the other person. Listening allows us to return control to the person speaking (and saying the things that we do not necessarily want to hear).
As you reflect on the ideas of wisdom, peacemaking, listening, and anger answer one of
the following questions:
- Can you think of moments in your life where you did not pay attention to wisdom and did not practice good listening? How did those moments go? Do you wish you could go back and change it? Why?
- Do you have moments where you needed to have a difficult conversation with someone? Did you ask for wisdom on knowing what to say? Did you practice excellent listening where you really heard the other person? How did that situation go?