My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20 (NIV)
We live in a world where people often react to situations, without necessarily thinking of the consequences. I used to tell my students ‘You can either manage the situation, or be managed by it’.
The verses above from James 1 tell us that we should be:
- quick to listen;
- slow to speak;
- slow to become angry.
This is contrary to the advice that the world would give, where you are expected to speak up (have an opinion on everything), listen (only until you can offer your opinion on the matter) and lose your temper (defend yourself) if the situation justifies it.
The picture of the Christian in James is opposed to this world view. It is of someone who is thoughtful, rather than opinionated. Being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry takes a conscious act of will on our part. It doesn’t happen by itself because our natural inclination is often to jump in.
Whatever your natural inclination, ask God to grant you the insight into how you can follow James’ advice and become a listener rather than a talker.
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