Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
My father always used to curb my impulsiveness by saying
‘Count to ten, Richard.’
Early in his presidency, Barack Obama, was facing the White House press pack and pausing before answering one of the many questions directed at him.
‘What’s the matter Mr President, don’t you have an answer for us?’
‘I like to let my brain catch up with my mouth’, he replied.
Wisdom lies in not giving way before the first impulse. A gentle attitude is one which takes time with people. A dismissive attitude is one which has already settled the matter and is already moving on to the next thing.
This deferral of judgement until all the facts are known is a fruit of the Spirit which is much needed in our impatient age.
Lord Jesus, Help us to be patient with one another, seeking truth in the other. Deliver us from the pressure to dismiss others. May the mind of Christ, Be evident in our speaking and in our actions, Amen
The Rev’d Richard Church is a member of the leadership team of Islington URC and Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship).
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