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Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20

Let us be swift to hear, slow to speak.

Let us be swift to hear, slow to speak.

Many times we have the tendency to stick the proverbial “foot in the mouth” when we do not carefully consider what we say to others, before we say it.

Recently I was very hurt by something someone said about me that was untrue. I tried to brush it off as an obvious attack of Satan (which it was), but it still deeply affected me. I have to confess that I practically spent the whole of that day feeling depressed and misunderstood by this person’s slanderous words. When I confronted the person with their unkind statement, they simply said, “I said that because I was mad at you.” Did that make me feel any better? Not really. Was their anger a good reason and justification for the hurtful lie? Not at all.

This was a perfect example of what the apostle James was writing about. We Christians need to be more careful not to hurt our brothers and sisters in the LORD by misuse of our tongues. Our tongues get us into more trouble with God than we can imagine. God considers an unkind word or malicious gossip about another person just as much a sin as any other kind of sin like murder or theft.

When we learn to practice being “swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath” we do more listening than we do talking. And that’s good. More listening and less talking gives us a chance to evaluate the potential harm in what we are about to say before we say it. This kind of pause and reflection can keep us from sinning with our tongues and actions, and thereby avoid hurting another member of the Body of Messiah who God loves.

As we listen and think before we speak and master control over our tongues, we confirm to ourselves and the world around us that the righteousness of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is alive and active in us.

–          Luis Yosefus Castillo

“If men would govern their tongues, they must govern their passions. When Moses’ spirit was provoked, he spoke unadvisedly with his lips. If we would be slow to speak, we must be slow to wrath.” – Matthew Henry.


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