James 1:19: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
This is part two of this verse. You may read part one here.
What does it mean to be “slow to speak”? Stephen Covey is famous for his habits of highly successful people. The first one is that we must “seek first to understand, then be understood.” This means we listen first, speak second. When we are slow to listen and quick to speak, it communicates to God and to others that we think we are more important than them. This is not the case. We are to put others needs before our own. Have you ever wondered why God gave us two ears and only one mouth?
We should weigh our words before we speak. How many times could unnecessary conflict or hurt have been avoided if we had shut our mouths and not said anything? Or if we had measured our words more carefully? Perhaps tempered the truth with more GRACE?!? Someone once said, “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than speak and prove them right.” This is especially true in this world of social media and instant communication where we think everybody needs to hear everything we think… NO! guard your speech.
Our words are to be encouraging, uplifting, healing, and point others to Christ. Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
James has more to say about the power of tongue later in the book, so we will return to this theme later…
Some questions to consider:
When was the last time you “put your foot in your mouth” because you spoke too soon?
Who do you need to encourage today?
What kind of filters do you need to put on your tongue?
Is there anybody you need to apologize to because of your quickness to speak?