Slow to anger

Written by Tom Smith.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (NIV) James 1:19

It is always frustrating to have someone interrupt you, thinking he knows what you are about to say and then jump to a different conclusion! We have all done that before. We have jumped to "illusions" about what the person was actually saying. We heard the words that were spoken, but we didn't really listen to what was being said. And this often leads to misunderstanding!

Once, I "sat on the sidelines" as a husband and wife argued, firing volley after volley of accusations at each other, both talking at the same time, and constantly interrupting each other. Each word drove the wedge of misunderstanding deeper and deeper into their relationship. I could hardly call for a ceasefire above the din of their verbal warfare.

I can't imagine that Jesus ever engaged in discourteous conversation. People listened to Him, and He listened to them. James, in his letter to the early church, wrote, "Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath". I'm sure he saw this modelled in Jesus many times over. Respectful listening keeps anger under control and promotes righteousness. Let's listen carefully and avoid jumping to illusions. You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth. God bless you!

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