What are characteristics that form and sustain community? James, the brother of Jesus, has some powerful advice. Here are the words of James 1:19-21:
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 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.
The evidence of James suggests, if it does not prove, that one of James’ concern is with some hot-heads who were ready to use violence against others in order to bring about God’s will. We see this in these verses and in James 4:1-2. The same concerns lurks behind James 3:13-18 as well.
James’ concern, then, whether directed at hot heads or not, is community formation and here are three characteristics:
1. Everyone should be quick to listen,
2. Everyone should be slow to speak and
3. Everyone should be slow to become angry.
Question: How many church problems could have been resolved had folks been quick to listen and slow to speak and (therefore) slow to get all worked up into anger?