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
The Epistle of James is the Proverbs of the New Testament. It’s filled with nuggets of great truth like this one: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (1:19 NLT).
Now that’s good advice. It’s a statement we should put someplace where we can see it every day, because most of us are swift to speak, slow to listen, and quick to anger. At least I am.
How many times have you said something, and the very moment the words left your lips, you regretted it? You thought, “I never should have said that.”
How easily we can say things we shouldn’t say. And how quickly we can pass judgment on a situation we know nothing about.
Peter did this on more than one occasion, which gives hope to ordinary people like you and me. For example, when he saw Jesus being transfigured with Moses and Elijah, Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Mark 9:5 NKJV).
The next verse adds, “He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified” (verse 6 NKJV). I think most of us can relate to that. Have you ever been in a tense situation where you wanted to make a good impression, but you ended up saying the dumbest thing ever?
A major part of self-control is mouth control. It’s a lot easier to save face if you keep the lower half of it shut.
Be quick to listen. Be slow to speak. And be slow to get angry. How different our lives would be if we would heed the admonition of these simple words.
Used with permission from Greg Laurie.