Jimmy always had a scowl on his face. Wherever he went he walked with his fists clenched tight.
One day as Jimmy was walking to school, his neighbor asked, “Jimmy, why are you so angry? Are your shoes too big? Do they fit too tight? Is the right one on the left? Is the left one on the right?”
“No!” screamed Jimmy, “Get out of my way!”
Jimmy didn’t even stop. He just kept on walking with his scowl, his fists, and his shoulders tilting from side to side.
Jimmy came to the corner where the school crossing guard helped the children cross the busy street.
“Jimmy,” she asked, “why are you so angry?” “Did you stay up all night? Did you fall out of bed? Did you lose your pillow and sleep on a rock instead?”
“No!” yelled Jimmy, and he punched the stop sign as he walked by.
Jimmy kept on walking passing all of the other kids. He just kept walking with his scowl, his fists and his shoulders tilting from side to side.
“Jimmy,” a classmate asked, “Why are you so angry? Did you trip over your skate board? Did you crash your bike? Did you lose today’s homework? Were you in a big fight?”
“No!” he said with his lips held tight, “If you don‘t stop bothering me I‘ll punch you in the nose!” And he raised his fist to meet the classmate’s nose.
Jimmy finally made it to his classroom and with a big thump he sat in his desk.
“Jimmy,” his teacher said, “Why are you so angry? Please tell us if you can, we want to know why, we just want to understand.”
Jimmy’s face turned red, and his eyes popped out, and even his hair stood up on end and with one big long breath he yelled, “No one pays attention if I‘m quiet or kind. The only way they notice me is if I‘m angry all the time! So I scream and I yell, and I punch my fist in the air. I kick the dirt and shove my friends; let them stop me if they dare!”
Jimmy finally took a breath and everyone in the classroom sat quiet and still.
Shy little Sarah stepped out from behind the other kids and said, “You don’t have to be angry to get the time you need; you only have to be Jimmy, that’s all we want to see. So put away your anger and put away the fight and be a friend like Jesus and you’ll be alright.”
The look on Jimmy’s face changed. His eyes settled back in place and his hair fell and Jimmy smiled for the very first time.
Everyone clapped their hands and yelled and whistled too, “Hurray! Jimmy’s not angry anymore. How about you!”
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19 (NIV)
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