“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 (NIV).
There has long been an apt observation that while we have two ears to listen; we have one mouth to speak. Look at it this way. Suppose we had the opposite of two mouths and one ear. Don’t you think life would have been a long drive of being harassed with all the noise you can imagine from competiting mouths! In creating us as we are, God did not take chances.
When we spend more time listening and not rushing to declare our thinking two things can happen. First of all listening gives us an opportunity to absorb in the views of the other party. And having heard we are then better informed to give an apt answer. Any of us may recall a time when in a rush to speak we said something so hurtful and just because of misinformation!
The Apostle James urged believers to be “slow to anger”! Anger is an emotion caused when we particularly feel strongly over a certain matter. When someone is so even that they never get angry over anything this might mean they do not have any feeling for any situation or subject.
Indeed our Lord Jesus got angry when he came over vendors who had turned his house into a market place (Mathew 21: 12- 13). But then his life was not one of someone easily provoked, quick to flex muscles at every single opportunity. While being arrested he asked of Peter to hold back against the soldiers, showing a certain remostrance though being God He had the power to hit back (John 18:11).
The Apostle James is much in agreement with the Apostle Paul who exhorts us to practice self control. Self-control is listed as one of the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) – a sign that Christ is in us. If we let our emotions of anger run us then we are clearly hindering the work of the Holy Spirit to perfect us in Christ.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, through the power of the Holy spirit teach me to be slow to speak and eager to listen and practice self control in all my affairs, that I may glorify you in my life, this I pray in Jesus’s name.