Thursday, May 17, 2018

Slow to Speak, Quick to Listen

Today's Reading:
Isaiah 1:1-2:22
James 1:19-2:17
Psalm 136:1-12
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Focus Verses: James 1:19-21
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

I've heard it said that God gave us two ears and one mouth, and we should use them proportionately. That advice seems to go along pretty well with James' instruction. James suggests that being quick to listen and slow to speak would help us be slower to get angry. Anger––at least the kind of anger we have when we shoot off our mouths before listening––is contrary to the righteous life God desires for us and from us. We need to be serious about turning away from sin and, instead, being humble and receptive toward God's word.

Response and Action:
I want to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I need to become a better listener. I need to listen to God's leading through his word. I need to listen to what others are saying and be careful to keep my responses and my attitudes in check. Careless anger is inconsistent with seeking God and trying to please him. I will guard against it.

O God, make me an instrument of your peace. Help me to become a good listener and to use words with careful measure. Give me the grace to relate to others in loving and healthy ways. Give me a mouth that blesses and encourages. Teach me to delight in your will and to walk in your ways to the glory of your name. I pray through Christ Jesus my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses:  Psalm 34:11-14
11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project
by Dave Isay

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