Rushed The Wrong Thing

Hearing is what our ear does as one of our senses to receive sounds. Listening requires the entire process of gathering and more importantly understanding the incoming sounds or words. If there is anything we need to do quickly in this fast-paced, instant culture we live in today, it is to be quick to listen. Scripture supports this in James 1:19 by saying, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

I would like to bring out three points,

  1. This instruction is good for "everyone"
  2. There is one "quick to" phrase
  3. There are two "slow to" phrases
Even though James addresses his spiritual family by saying, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:" before stating the teaching - he begins the enlightenment by including all people - "everyone". This guidance is excellent for non-believers as well as believers.

My second observation is that the only thing we are allowed to be quick to in this is listening. A big part to developing this skill is listen to understand, not respond. Ever met someone who loved to hear themselves talk? If your situation calls for a response, so be it. If your situation does not call for a response, soak in the information or wisdom and proceed. 

The third point emphasizes not one, but two identical phrases - "slow to". In this world of instant satisfaction, judging a book by its cover and knee-jerk reactions - this is certainly a challenge but still honorable goals when paired with "speak" and "become angry"

Just think how much trouble we would avoid and how much hurt would not occur if we would not speak our minds sometimes. If we would at least be slow to speak, this process may give our thoughts time to catch up to our mouth and help choose our words wisely. The difficulty in taming the tongue is another topic James covers in James 3:1-12.

Hearing what you want to hear from the initial start of a conversation and not listening is the epitome of starting off on the wrong foot. This will lead to speaking out of turn and saying the wrong thing which will lead to embarrassment and anger on both parties.

Slowing down our option to speak, gives us time to think about what we may or may not say - avoiding a lot of hardship. This leads to being slow to anger. Count to ten, go in another room, step away from the situation or conversation for a while - do what you have to do to not sacrifice your reprutation or self worth because you Rushed The Wrong Thing.