Wednesday, June 10
“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
Many of you who are reading this may have thought “ I need to spend less time reading, watching or listening to the news.” Many of you are aware that what passes for news often has a negative view of a situation in order to stir up controversy and thus generate energy. That negative orientation is normal behavior for sinful human beings. It is normal to point out the bad instead of the good. It is normal to be suspicious instead of accepting. Thank God that through Jesus you have been called to live an abnormal life.
Consider the life to which you are called.
Where it is normal to encounter someone’s words and rapidly draw a negative conclusion you have been invited to be “quick to listen.” Listening involves setting aside your opinions in order to understand the needs of the other.
Where it is normal to want to rapidly express your viewpoint, or defend your position, God calls you to be “slow to speak.” The prophet Isaiah foretold this about the coming Messiah: “ He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. “ (Isaiah 53:7)
Where it is normal to respond to someone or something by “flying off the handle”, you are encouraged to be “slow to anger.”
Through the power of the Holy Spirit living in you, your life truly is abnormal. Let the words of James 1:19 be a part of who you are as you interact with those closest to you today. Let those words guide your heart as you encounter the words and actions of people outside of your extended circle of family and friends.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Amen.