“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.”
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.’
Let’s combine these two verses with a focus on improving the way we listen to and connect with others. Let’s commit to the disciplined process of making James 1.19 the way we interact with people. Not simply a doctrine to be affirmed, but a spiritual discipline to be practiced with consistency.
Do the following today, the rest of the week,and beyond:
1. Be intentional about talking less and listening more.
Give people (at work and at home) your full attention and focus on what they have to say. Set aside your agenda. Be curious about others. Ask questions. Find out what people think and what they have experienced. When you feel the urge to talk, use it as a signal/trigger to be quiet and listen. Elevate your awareness that you are obeying a biblical directive to “be quick to hear and slow to speak.”
“Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 29.20)
There are times when you are engaged in conversation that you lose focus. Your mind drifts and you get distracted. When you recognize this happening, press pause and refocus. Pray and ask the Lord to help you focus on and listen to the person.
2. Be intentional about managing your anger/frustration.
If you experience a surge of anger or frustration about someone or something, press pause and think. Reflect on James 1.19. Use the verse as purposeful self-talk. Tell yourself to “be quick to hear, slow to listen, and slow to anger.” Give the verse—not your anger/frustration—primacy in your heart and mind.
“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” (Proverbs 14.29)
More tomorrow …