Daily D – James 1:19-20
James 1:19, 20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: 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. (NIV)
Listen deeply. Ask clarifying questions. Consider the answers. Disagree if necessary and do so kindly and gently.
These verses and their proper application make life so much more enjoyable. They keep us rightly and properly related with others, God included.
The man who wrote The Checklist Manifesto would do well to add these instructions to his list-making endeavors. And so would we.
1. Be quick to listen.
2. Be slow to speak.
3. Be slow to become angry.
Listen for understanding, not for argument. Listen for the heart of the other person. Listen to his or her hopes and fears, dreams and losses.
Think before you speak. Think not only about what you will say but how you will say it. Choose words easy to hear and easy to understand. Keep them focused and on topic.
Softness defuses anger. Speak softly.
Kindness soothes disagreements. Speak kindly.
Gentleness assures. Speak gently.
Only allow anger to drive when it is not out of control. Only unleash anger when it positively, helpfully corrects and redirects toward positive outcomes.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 provides helpful instruction:
God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
Proverbs 15:1 agrees with Solomon and James:
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
You have your checklist. Check it twice here at the beginning of the day. Check it again when you journal your thoughts tonight. Evaluate yourself. Work on your game plan for tomorrow. Learn to enjoy the blessings of peace. Luxuriate in not needing to say, “I’m sorry for what I said and how I said it.”
I will listen first and calmly proceed toward what comes next.
Our Father, slow my mouth’s reaction time. Align it with these truths. Attune it to your heart. Give me ears to hear what other persons say and mean. Empower me to understand. Place your thoughts in my mind, your words in my mouth, and wrap them in your love and kindness as I deliver them. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“