“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20
James has almost has a full chapter dedicated to the tongue and the power of it. Even though the tongue has a lot of power in it, God wants it to be harnessed and used in a good, godly manner.
God tells us to be slow to speak in the verses above. God doesn’t want us running our mouth all the time. We all know that person who is always talking, always saying something. We all know that person that you can’t get in a word when you are talking to them. They got a story for everything. They are full of reasons or excuses for their actions. The only time they aren’t talking is when they are asleep!
Be slow to speak. Take time thinking about what you are saying or are going to say. When you are slow to speak, you can avoid many problems. You can assess the situation and decide whether or not to say something and if you do say something, what you should say. You can avoid regretting what you say. You can avoid saying sorry for what you say. All if you are slow to speak.
How can we be slow to speak? What is the key to being slow to speak in any and every situation? God answers those questions with the previous phrase, be swift to hear.
If you are listening, you aren’t talking; and if you are talking, you aren’t listening. It is so simple that sometimes we forget the simplicity of it.
God wants us to listen more than we talk. He made it clear when He gave us two ears and only one mouth. He made it clear when He gave us the option to not talk, but our ears are always hearing.
Because we have so much power in our tongue, we need to listen and learn and then decide what to say. We shouldn’t spout off at the mouth without a second thought. Stop and listen! Stop and listen again! And then if you aren’t sure still, listen one more time.
I find it interesting that God says be slow to wrath right after He said be slow to speak. I take it then that our wrath is directed by what we speak. When we speak without thinking, we can cause wrath to take place in our life or in whomever we are speaking to. The best way to be slow to wrath is be swift in hearing. Figure out what the problem is, listen and learn, and than proceed with speaking.
So wherever you are at, whatever you are doing be swift in hearing and slow in everything else!