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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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.