Last week I got home from a 14-hour workday at midnight, completely exhausted. I walked into the kitchen and noticed the dishwasher had been run but not emptied, and the sink was full of dishes. Instantly, I was infuriated at my husband. I had worked 16 hours the day before (still finding time to load and run the dishwasher), and 14 hours that day. Why didn’t he unload and reload it? The trash could be full and the floors dirty, but when the sink is full I can’t stand it. He knows that. If he had been awake at the time, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have complained about it. I unloaded the dishwasher grumpily before going to bed.
The morning after the dishwasher fiasco, I politely asked my husband what he did after work the day before. I was hoping for an opportunity where I could ream him about not doing the dishes. He said he scrubbed and sealed the kitchen and bathroom tile grout. Not a fun task. I was instantly convicted. I’m not the only one who works hard in this household; my husband has 11-hour days Monday through Friday. And he had completed a tedious task that he recognized needed to be done- I never asked him to clean and seal the grout.Not to mention that he does do the dishes usually if I don’t get them before work. I immediately thanked him for cleaning the floor and was so thankful I didn’t nag him about the dishwasher. He kissed me and left for work, so I laid in bed praying. God then placed James 1:19 on my heart:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
How do you respond to those you love when you are upset? It is so easy to act on emotions. You get frustrated with your spouse or child and instantly make a smart aleck remark. When emotions like anger, frustration, or irritation take over, you aren’t thinking clearly, causing you to say or do things out of the norm. It ends up causing more frustration and can turn into a fight over something so little. This has happened on occasion with myself. Thankfully, I have a very laid back husband who typically diverts these situations with a stupid joke, and we both end up laughing. He is the bomb, for real.
In all seriousness, what is the point of getting angered so quickly causing you to snap and have an attitude? It solves nothing. The tongue is a very powerful thing; it can set your whole life on fire, James 3:6. Emotions can drive you to say things that are hurtful and completely unnecessary. In those situations, you’re not “speaking slowly,” you are responding so quickly that your mind hasn’t even analyzed the situation yet. And you’re definitely not thinking about the other person’s feelings- only your own. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
This week let’s focus on James 1:19 and try to listen attentively, think before speaking, and avoid getting angry over the little things (like a sink full of dishes). My prayer for you this week is found in Psalm 141:3, “Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.” I challenge you to pray this daily and when you find yourself in a situation where your tongue is tempting you.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Have a great week!