READING: James 1-5
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
They’re only a few simple words. They’re clear. They don’t need much explanation.
It’s just hard to live them out.
The words are James’ words in the first chapter of his writing: “My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness” (Jms 1:19-20).
Be quick to listen and slow to speak – which means, don’t start talking right away. If you listen before you speak, you’re much more likely to be wise in what you say; it’s the impetuous response that creates even more problems. The person who always talks not only can’t hear other people well, but he likely also doesn’t hear God well. He often feels a need to make his point – to always be right – and that attitude can quickly lead into anger. And, where anger abounds, righteousness cannot.
For me, the first step is often the hardest: be quick to listen. I sometimes so quickly bow up and take a defensive posture that I find myself trying to make my case before I’ve truly heard the other’s point of view. Even if I’m not speaking verbally, I’m forming my argument in my head.
Thus, I repeat: it’s just hard to live out James’ words. That reality, though, doesn’t give me permission to ignore them.
- Make a deliberate choice to listen well to others today.
- Don’t let anger capture you, no matter what you face today.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to keep quiet and listen today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Galatians 1-3