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James 1:19-20

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

Regrets. We all have them, especially when it comes to the people we are closest to. I wonder how many of them we could trace back to this passage in James? If you are anything like me, the answer would be “most.” It sure would be nice to have one of those “Slow Down” neighborhood signs show up every time I’m about to violate today’s passage, but alas, that’s not going to happen, is it?

The bible is brutally honest in the way that it clarifies what every human being is capable of. We don’t seek God. We look out for number one. We manipulate to get what we want, and most of the time what we want isn’t what God would have for us. That honest assessment brings us to a daily need for James 1:19-20 when it comes to the relationships in our lives. Listen more than you talk. Don’t be so quick to say what’s on your mind or in your heart. Choke back the urge to engage your anger.

James 1:19-20 is a passage that shows up almost every day in my parenting life and in my relationship with every single human being I encounter. More often than not, I’m slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to get angry. Are you? The bible commands us to live peaceful and quiet lives (1 Tim 2:2), including seeking to live at peace with everyone, whether they desire that or not (Rom 12:18).

Applying James 1:19-20 under the power of the Holy Spirit is the only chance we have to make it so…so SLOW DOWN! Like I often say to our four kids, “Sometimes the most Christ like thing you can do is Shut Up!”


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