lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue,
and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness
doesn’t grow from human anger.
James 1:19 (The Message)
When next you sit down and watch the news, particularly those that have a talking head with a panel of experts, watch how well they listen. Granted they are governed by the clock and so their experts must disseminate their “vast” knowledge in seconds, but the level of anger that often explodes seems to be a direct result of minimal listening and excess talking.
Across the United States Christians and churches suffer because of deaf ears and tongues gone wild. With each story we hear about a church in crisis or a congregation struggling, the common thread connecting them is anger. Where and why the anger grew is varied, but more often than not, it is a result of people with out of control tongues and ears that are plugged.
The culture is angry. How then are we, as followers of Jesus Christ, supposed to live in this world and not let the world corrupt us? What the world sees is “us” looking and acting exactly like “them.” James gives us at least one way we can be markedly different and it isn’t really anything new but a truth that isn’t practiced consistently and it is this: Listen before you speak. Listening allows God to speak, bringing about his character in and through us.
Jesus, forgive me for the number of times
that I jump in with speech and so
water the seeds of anger.
Help me to be quicker to listen, bringing
your character into view.
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