My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry…
Take note of this! I just love how God inspired James to get our attention right up front!
So, let’s take note: Be quick to listen. Let’s really choose to quickly focus and fully listen to the one who is speaking. Let’s value and honor each person. Let’s let each person know they are being heard by us. Let’s ask the Lord to help us listen quickly and fully to others with His love, attention and patience. The same love, attention and patience that our Lord gives to each one of us – always.
So, let’s take note: Be slow to speak. Let’s answer only after we have really heard the other person. Only after we have first sought to truly understand that person’s thoughts, that person’s words. Let’s choose to not pre-judge what we think that person may have to say. Let’s choose to not interrupt (Oh-my-goodness! I really had to learn this one! Coming from a family with five children, all born within five years from the oldest to the youngest, interrupting was what I did!) Let’s choose to not have an already fully formulated rebuttal or counterpoint prepared even before the other person has finished speaking. That isn’t really listening. Let’s ask the Lord for His love, wisdom and timing before we speak. The same love, wisdom and time that our Lord gives to us when we are speaking to Him.
So, let’s take note: Be slow to become angry. Let’s be willing to choose a mind and heart of openness towards the other person and what he or she is truly saying before we open our mouths with any kind of anger, judgment, criticism, coldness or cruelty. Let’s ask the Lord for His love, kindness and compassion as we react to and interact with each person. The same love, kindness and compassion that our Lord shows to us – continually.
Our God hears our hearts even when we don’t know how to fully put into words all that would express, and make clear, our innermost thoughts and feelings. Our God loves us and listens to us – each one of us – with infinite and intimate attention, patience, wisdom, kindness and compassion. And although none of us can hear another’s heart perfectly or listen as lovingly as God listens to us, we are to follow our Lord Jesus in all things. And that includes in the way we listen and respond to others.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Listening, really listening, to other people in order to hear their hearts, in order to know and understand their thoughts and perspectives is one of the most powerful and tangible ways we could ever show our love. And as we listen to Jesus, He tells us…
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Take note of this, and love as Jesus loves: Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger!
In love, peace and purposeful passion,