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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Zechariah 13:9 “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’ ”
Zechariah 9:9, 10 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Ezra 3:12, 13 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.
Daniel 2:30 “As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.”