James 1:19 – 21
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger ; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
Or as the Message put it:
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.
God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.
So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!
I’m a talker. I always have been. If anyone has met me, they know this is true. So, these verses are hard for me.
It’s not that I don’t listen – b/c I do. Because as much as I love to talk — I love for others to talk to me, too. I love that human interaction. It makes me feel connected.
(Thankfully, I have a mom who has always allowed me to just be me. She’s allowed me to chatter her ears off – even when I might have been going in circles. Mom’s are good that way. I hope I can be as good of a listener with my girls as she was and IS to me. 🙂 )
I’ve never been able to hide how I’m feeling, either. If I’m mad, most folks know it. If I’m thinking – deeply – that’s pretty obvious, too. If I’m happy, watch out. I might be doing a cartwheel on your desk.
The thing is, not everyone is like that. And not everyone “gets” me. When someone I care about doesn’t “get” me, I think my mind must process it like an emergency. And then I have to explain myself to them until they do. Crisis solved, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, most of the time, if they don’t “get” me in the beginning of the conversation – they are further from understanding me by the end. (yes, I’m talking in circles again).
I thought by the time I was an adult I would know how to handle things like that. I could just shut my mouth and let it go. I would be less inclined to get hurt and angry when someone doesn’t get me or understand my heart.
I was wrong.
Certain instances have provided me with no recourse but to talk or shut up. If I didn’t talk, I was sure my head was going to explode. So, of course, I chose to talk.
All the beautiful things I’d planned to say came out in a way that was a complete other language to the receiver of said speech. I came across preachy and pitiful.
In retrospect, I realize my head would NOT have exploded. But there may have been a small fire…
Anyway – I must learn to give it to the Lord and let HIM do the talking. I need to stop being offended and I certainly don’t want to offend. It’s a heart issue. Ya know?
So, I’m going to shut up.
It’s going to take some work, though. I’m going to be quiet and act on what I’m hearing from the Lord. EVEN if I feel like I need to call the brain bomb squad. I’m going to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Okay, I’m going to give it my best shot…and let God do the rest.
I’ll close with this verse. Yes – it’s hard too, grrr…
Psalm 19:14 May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my defender.
And these, too — maybe I should commit these to memory. Ugh.
Proverbs 10: 19-21
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.