“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20 ESV)
“Be Quick to hear.” That’s a funny way to say “Shut up and listen.” I know, I know… that’s not exactly what James is saying there, but so many of us would need to take that advice if we were to take the admonition James offers up in verse 19.
Quick-Slow-Slow. That’s the prescribed order. Be quick/careful/intentional in your listening. Don’t just hear–LISTEN. There is a big difference between the two isn’t there? I am regularly accused of not listening to something my wife claims she told me. I heard her, but i wasn’t listening to her. Easy to see why she gets angry with me at time, huh?
We have to be careful and intentional about listening. And if we are quick to hear we will find that the result will be our being “slow to speak, slow to anger.”So let me issue a challenge to you: for the rest of this week be QUICK to hear, that is, REALLY LISTEN to what the people around you are saying. Stop formulating your response while they’re still speaking. Stop hearing only what they actually say. Listen to what they didn’t say just as closely.
If you do, you will find yourself ready to live out the teaching from James 1:19-20. And you will be the embodiment of these passages as well…
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1 NLT)
“Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!” (Proverbs 15:23 NLT)