“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).
This past week I was fed up. I was frustrated. Restless.
I didn’t like how I was being treated or the memory of how I was being treated in the past.
I was weary of words shot at me.Words that cut me deep. Words long forgotten, were back to wound me.
I let it get to me.
So, I, a usually calm, and reserved person (not of my own doing, that’s for sure)
Snapped quick remarks, hit below the belt and revealed too much of my discouraged heart.
Nonetheless, God is good to me, and revealed, even with my newfound boldness, I NEEDED to understand something. And learn….
I must watch my words.
The Lord reminded me:
“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry…” (James 1:19).
Watch your mouth.
“Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” James 3:2
I caused more confusion, anger, grief, and shame with words spoken carelessly.
Even in arguments.
I learned: I do not always have to respond.
Most of the time, your silence speaks louder.
Let others win. I found our inability to allow others win an argument is because of our own pride.
Pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18).
I don’t have to right all the time. We certainly should not fight to have our voice be heard. (God already sees and knows us) Do whatever you can to keep strife between you and another person out– and keep the peace. (I am not saying to not try to correct someone, but do it with the sincerity, love and hope of God that they will understand you. If they don’t–it’s time to let it go. Your peace is not worth it.)
You can be right, not agree and still have peace.
“In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire…” James 3:5
And if you stay in offense or unforgiveness, the Lord says He will not forgive you (Mark 11:26).
Is it worth it?
My heart was revealed with what came out of my mouth:
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (Luke 6:45).
It seems simple. But it is true.
I found that the bitterness of past years, undealt with, began to flow out of me during a time frustration and weariness.
Watch your heart.
But God is faithful.
From the beginning, He warned me to: “Watch over (my) heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23).
The blessing is–once the pain in our hearts is revealed– you and I can begin again to transform our mind and hearts with The Word of God.
Be slow to speak. Slow to anger.
Never, ever hesitate to listen, I learned–
To the Lord.
The Lord is speaking and desires to show us truths in His Word that will help guide us, mold us, heal us and transform us.
However, we have to be still.
And know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10).
To be still can be many things.
However, you and I can start by simply putting aside time every day to read God’s Word. Whether it be a verse or chapter–make time for it.
Or delaying your plans just to hear His voice. Pausing in between tasks to acknowledge His Presence and His Love for you.
Something I am still growing in…but I am praying that you and I would be more sensitive to His Holy Spirit and be filled with wisdom concerning resting in His ability, Word, and power. All so that you and I can walk with Him more closely, and be directed by Him into all the blessings He has for us.
Be slow to speak. Slow to anger.
Never, ever hesitate to listen to people.
Listen for what is not said.
Even when people come to you in confidence, always listen before you speak–try to understand what they’re saying first.
“A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!”–Proverbs 15:23
Sometimes you don’t have to say anything at all.
Sometimes your presence is just enough.
Watching your words shows respect for the person coming to you in confidence and our Creator.
Sometimes people just want you to hear them, and yes, affirm their heart. The need to always talk robs moments of divine wisdom and vulnerability.
We get to watch and pray.
In these moments you and I have the privilege of listening to what is not being said and give The Holy Spirit to intercede through us on their behalf.
Even when you’re afraid for the person, or may not understand; when you trust The Holy Spirit to direct you and give you wisdom on what to see, how to help them, what to say, He will.
Let God in.
Open the Bible. Confess to God honestly about what has been coming out of your mouth. Repent and ask Him to show you how to overcome, and heal properly in your heart so that He can fill you up with His Word…and love.
Lord, help us learn how to listen to people. Really listen. And let your Holy Spirit direct us as we speak and pray for others. We thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
In every season,
Here are some scriptures I will be praying and meditating on. I encourage you to ask God to show you where you need to improve so that we may all speak graciously 🙂 As you pray them, make them personal. It is between you and the Father.
* “The righteous” mentioned in these scriptures, according to God are those who have decided to accept Jesus as Lord of their lives and lead lives of honor before Him.*
Proverbs 10:21 (NASB)
“The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding.”
I pray Lord, my lips feed many.
Proverbs 10:11 (NASB)
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”
Psalm 37:30 (NASB)
“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice.”
Psalm 49:3 (NLT)
“For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight.”
Psalm 19:14 (NLT)
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
James 1:19 (NASB)
“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
I pray I am quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Amen.
Colossians 4:6 (NLT)
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
I pray Lord you bless my speech that I speak with grace…that I know how to answer every one I meet.
1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.”
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
I missed you all, and I hope you have had a wonderful weekend!
Quick question: How do you feel when someone is not listening to you? What will you start doing now that you are more aware of your words?
*All translations are taken from NASB or NLT