Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
James 1:19

Oh, the tongue.

How many countless feelings have been hurt by its careless use?

How much strife could have been avoided? How much energy has been drained? How much negativity could have been bypassed?

A great majority of the interpersonal conflicts that require counsel stem from the neglect of this one simple principle:

BE QUICK TO LISTEN, SLOW TO SPEAK, SLOW TO BECOME ANGRY.

 

Why is this so difficult?

We live in a day and age in which everyone has the right to an opinion. Everyone has a voice. Every opinion and every voice, regardless of how wrong it may be, is ascribed the same level of validity.

We have built enormous shrines to ourselves upon which to post our opinions and our voices.

We think it’s strange not to.

 

And we have to be careful.

Careful to listen, not just wait for our turns to speak.

Careful to understand, not just wait to be understood.

 

The book of James makes an alarming assertion all throughout its five chapters. It’s the same one that Solomon makes over and over in Proverbs. You can tell a person’s level of spiritual maturity based solely upon how they use their tongue. The tongue acts as a spiritual barometer.

“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.”
• Psalm 141:3

Lord, help us take inventory of every word spent today. Take captive every one. Help us be slow to speak, and quick to listen.

Make us people of few, but carefully chosen, words.

Amen.

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