Have you ever had one of those experiences when you’ve heard yourself say something and thought, ‘Why did I say that’?
Something stupid, hurtful, nasty or just best left unsaid?
Sometimes we do well to think before we speak. But is there more to it than that?
(image:By Wiki Roxor (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons)
17 Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing. 18 He wanted us to be his own special people, and so he sent the true message to give us new birth.
Hearing and Obeying
19 My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. 20 If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. 21 You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you.
22 Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. 23 If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror 24 and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. 25 But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.
26 If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. 27 Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.
What fabulous advice for life is,
My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry (v19)
How much better would so many things be if we could all apply that principle. For, as James points out, if we are using all our energy on being angry, we can’t be doing the good things God wants us to do.
If we want to take seriously living in God’s ways, we can’t just listen to what he says, we have to act on it as well – for listening is only any good if it leads us to action.
Why do we get angry, or say hurtful things? To truly try to bring change? – Or to make us feel better? Or make someone else look bad?
Would we say what we are saying to someone’s face? Would it help if we did? Are our words and actions building God’s ways – or destroying them?
Are we as quick to listen to someone as we are to get cross? To hear what they are actually saying, what is really happening for them?
So before we speak, we should listen to God, hear what he is saying, and try to convey that – not our opinion.
forgive me the times I am quick to speak and slow to listen,
quick to make a snap judgement without listening to you,
quick to anger and slow to think on you.
I pray that my words
will be your words.
We may be the only Christian someone knows. What would they think about our behaviour, attitude and what we say?