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)
I have heard many a Christian be unapologetic about the words that leave their mouths. They feel entitled to their thoughts and words despite the effect they may have on others. So many times words are spewed without any thought to the devastating effects of harsh and insensitive words. The general attitude seems to be one of; everyone needs to hear me, but I don’t need to hear others.
We’re all guilty of speaking without thinking at times, but it should never become our way of life. Excuses like “ I just don’t have a filter” or “I just have to say what comes to mind” aren’t acceptable reasons for intentionally hurting others with our words. Honesty in our speech is one thing, total disregard for others is something quite different.
My question is, if we are constantly spewing out our thoughts and complaints how are we possibly doing any listening? James tells us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. He obviously means to be really listening to what is being said around us. Maybe if we do this we will be less likely to say things we shouldn’t. Maybe we will be less inclined to think we have the right to share our uncensored words with the world.
I think part of the quick to listen idea is to be listening to what words sound like in our heads before we shoot them out of our mouths. So often we say things out of anger or hurt that do irreparable damage to those that are closest to us.
Let’s think before we speak, and let’s listen to what we’re about to say before we do more harm than good to others and ourselves.
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman