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  • Shawn Thornton

Jesus Was Never Irritable?

Sunday - January 3rd

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 1:19-20


Human anger does not produce

the righteousness that God desires.

James 1:20b

Mike the Cat spent 20 years guarding the British Museum in London. This common household cat became so famous in the early part of the 20th century that Time Magazine in 1929 included two articles announcing his death and detailing his legacy. Initially, the museum's caretakers kept the cat near the front steps to keep pigeons from gathering and leaving a mess at the museum's main entrance. They found that stray street dogs, ornery boys, and even teenage hoodlums were scared away by Mike the Cat.

While Mike liked the men who regularly worked at the museum, he displayed an aggressively irritable disposition to everyone else - especially women and children. When they were adults, many Londoners recalled how Mike's crankiness toward them as children left them with a life-long predisposed dislike of the British Museum itself. The way Mike the Cat met them at the museum's entrance in their childhood had spoiled their perspective on the museum for the rest of their lives.

It makes sense. Suppose your impression of something or someone is that they are cranky, irritable, and have an angry edge whenever you encounter them. In that case, you will want to avoid experiencing that thing, place, or person for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, some Christians live life with an irritable edge. They complain or squabble with others over the littlest things in life. The impression nonbelievers often have of Christians, Christianity, and even Christ Himself is not a good one - not an attractive, inspiring one. Jesus was never irritable. His attitude and demeanor never repelled people. They might have been bothered by His messages and morality, but even then, Jesus' spirit toward others never drove them away.

James 1:20 clearly tells us that human anger and irritability never produce Christlike righteousness in our lives. Anger and irritability thwart what God wants to do in and through us. What about you? Do you have a reputation similar to Mike the Cat? When others think about you and their experiences with you, are they drawn to you or driven away from you?

Too often, those who call themselves Christians repel people because of irritable attitudes and dispositions. Rarely do nonbelievers name biblical positions and values as the reason Christ and Christianity repel them. Our caustic attitude and irritable spirit do more damage to the cause of Christ than most other aspects of our Christianity. Even worse, we often drive our family and friends the farthest from Jesus - all because we give off a cranky, irritable disposition as a way of life.

A cranky cat is one thing. A cranky Christian is a whole other thing. Confess to the Lord your own irritability. Memorize James 1:19-20 and ask God to bring it to mind whenever you begin to settle into an irritable disposition.

Jesus was never irritable. His attitude and demeanor never repelled people. Do yours?


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