Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak. James 1:19
If we ever fancied that we could get along without God's Spirit, even for a moment, we probably did not make this mistake in connection with the way we listen and talk. Who has not said on any number of occasions, "If I had only listened!" or "Why can't I keep my big mouth shut?" If James had said, "Let everyone be quick to speak and slow to listen," we would have no problem at all.
Quick to listen. Listen to what? Events in the days of our loved ones, helpful counsel, the whole truth, both sides of a question, a plea for help, a request for forgiveness -- all of these, of course. But as we listen carefully, we also hear utterances of disappointment, pleas for love, and sighs of sorrow that we alone can answer. These are special messages from our God, who cries in the pain of the world, "I am hungry ... thirsty ... in prison ... sick."
Slow to speak. About what? A friend's shortcomings, office gossip, dissatisfaction with church, school, and community -- all of these, of course. But here James is counseling us to "count to 10" before talking back in a budding argument. Our Savior had these words written of Him: "No deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats" (1 Peter 2:22-23). His example and power are ours that we may follow in His steps, in the way of peace.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, let me listen and speak in love. Amen.
(Devotions from "The Abundant Life" copyright 1998, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time e-mailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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