“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person 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
Many years ago, an executive working for John D. Rockefeller made a very poor business decision! The error cost Rockefeller’s firm $85,000,000 in today’s dollars. Obviously, this was a huge loss, even for someone as wealthy as John D. Rockefeller.
One of Rockefeller’s business partners came to him the day the loss was discovered. John spoke first: “I am sure you have been alerted to our loss. I’ve been thinking it over, and before asking the man to come in to discuss the matter, I’ve been making some notes.” The partner glanced at what was written: “Points in Favor of The Executive.” Rockefeller had made a long list of only good qualities of this man, including the many times he had made decisions earning the company much more than the deficit of his mistake.
This event had a life-long impact on the partner. Later in life, whenever tempted to accuse, he would sit down and carefully write a list of the person’s virtues. When finished, he would have a new perspective of the true value of the person.
James reminds us that we should be quick to listen and take time before speaking so as not to respond in anger.
Why not follow the example of Rockefeller and his business; listing positive qualities about a person prior to initiating a potentially intense conversation?
Father, when my heart is full of anger, I need your help. Help me to consider this person as my brother/sister. Help me to see your image in them. Let me not speak until you have helped me gain control of my emotions, giving me power to be reconciled. Amen