James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”
Ever been in a conversation that starts out pretty calm, and then gets a little heated? I think we all have. In verse 19, James specifically starts with “my beloved brethren”. He is speaking to believers…yes, believers get angry. He is reminding believers that it’s important to know and remember that they are God’s beloved. That their value comes from God and not the person they are in conversation with. That people who know they are loved, find it easier to love others.
Then he gives the progression of a productive conversation. Be fast to hear. Self-control makes you a good listener. Be slow to speak. Hear the person completely before you respond. Be slow to wrath. If things are heading in the wrong direction, wait for a more appropriate time.
In Proverbs 20:12 it says, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord has made both of them”. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. I’ve been learning lately that I don’t always have to say something. It’s okay to not always have to speak if we don’t have something to say. In other word, when someone is sharing something with you, you don’t have to force yourself to come up with something profound to say, you can actually just listen.
One of the most powerful gifts that we have is to be a good hearer, or a good listener. James said to be “fast” when it comes to hearing, be slow to speak, and take it to an even slower gear if you find yourself getting angry. It’s easy…fast, slow, slow.