Brothers | Losing It | Quick to Listen
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry… (James 1:19)
Read that verse again. Notice there are two “slows” and one “quick.” Now, rewrite it so that better describes you. Are your “quicks” and “slows” in the same place? Probably not. We’re usually quick to speak and become angry, but slow to listen. So if that’s what comes naturally, why would the Bible tell us to do it this way? The answer is that God knows how we’re wired. He sees the source of much of our conflict. He knows that if we can get the first part right, we may not even need the second part. The old adage is true: It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.
Listening does not come easily to most of us. From our earliest years, everyone was encouraging us to talk: “Say, Mama. Say Thank you.” We got the hang of it pretty quickly and just kept going. Then teachers and parents tried to get us to shut up and listen and that wasn’t nearly as interesting. It’s still not. So we enter conversations with the sole purpose of expressing our own thoughts, but we encounter other people intent on doing the same thing. Chaos, conflict, and misunderstandings result. Many arguments could have been avoided if we’d taken time to fully hear another’s point of view. Expressing opinions has become a national pastime, but how much of that opinion is wise, fact-based, and formed after being quick to listen? When we are quick to speak, we’re also quick to become angry. We’ve missed some vital information. When we’re quick to listen, we grow wiser.
Final Thought: Consider the last three times you got angry in a conversation. Were you quick to listen or quick to speak?
Prayer: Father, I see myself in this verse, only it’s backward for me. I’d much rather talk than listen. I want to begin working on my listening skills, starting with listening to you. May I never speak until my words have been approved by you. Amen.