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
The last 60 days in our country have seen copious amounts of anger expressed. While some expressions have led to more dialogue and heightened awareness, others have been very detrimental – damage to businesses, injury to people and property, and pure vitriol. Raw emotions exploding into unchecked reactions have been common.
Scripture offers some compelling guidance, not just for days like these, but for the everyday patterns of our lives. It would make our homes, workplaces, communities, and even our churches more healthy and pleasant.
- Be quick to listen. Listening involves actually paying attention to what the other person is saying. And it goes deeper than that. Body posture, facial expressions and seeking to understand where the other person is coming from are all part of listening. Too often, our listening is little more than tolerating someone else’s talking. Sadly, we aren’t really listening to or actually hearing what they are saying.
- Be slow to speak. This goes hand in hand with #1. We can all fall into the trap of impatiently waiting to share our opinion. We interrupt others as though what we have to say is what matters most. This kind of behavior is not only counter to Scripture it is ignorant and rude. The Scripture above is referring to someone that is willing to receive instruction. It is difficult to receive instruction with our mouth open.
- Be slow to become angry. Why? Because anger does not bring about the kind of response that is helpful. It does not fuel the virtuous life God desires for His people. We would all do well to remember that it is okay to have disagreements. It is actually normal and can often be constructive if handled in humility and love. But allowing the fact that someone doesn’t agree with us become an excuse to erupt into inflammatory behavior isn’t what God desires.
So in summary, listen more, speak less and stay calm. What a great template for the interactions we will have this week and beyond.
Live this week on purpose,