“Be slow to speak and quick to listen.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 11, 2021
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20 (NIV)
It is remarkably easy to overestimate the value of our own opinion. This is true of our personal opinions and private pursuits, as well as the advice we feel led to share with others. Sure, we can quickly think of other people who should never share their advice, yet someone would be crazy to not listen to what we have to say!
Our assurance of our helpfulness is fed and fueled by our self-made isolation that convinces us that we are the center of the universe. As such, this self-absorption creeps into every aspect of our lives, even our attempts at doing good and offering helpful advice to others. Even if your counsel is good and wise, there may be times when wisdom invites silence and restraint.
Hard as it is to hear, in the big scheme of things, you and I simply aren’t that important! People will be just fine if they don’t hear every thought we have or every opinion we may have formulated. In fact, rarely is anything lost by taking a minute, a day, a week, or longer to hold your thoughts and ponder them in the silence of your own spirit.
We must learn to linger in God’s presence. It is there that we hear his word spoken to us. It is there that we are invited to live our lives in service to others. And it is there that his word solidifies and settles into our spirit. As we do this, we are able to ensure our words are an extension to others of his words to us.
There certainly are times you and I must be bold and offer direction, hope, and healing to others around us. In the mystery of his will, this is one of the key ways that the Lord shares his life with us. He reminds others of his love for them as we speak the words of his kingdom. However, these moments of public and external communication must be the overflow of a life that abides in the presence of God.
Be slow to speak definitive direction to others, yet be quick to listen for the voice of God in every area of your life!
Father, help us to listen and linger in your presence, and only then consider how we might offer blessing and direction to others, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Observe today how many times you find yourself inclined to offer your own advice and opinion to those around you.
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