“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” James 1:19-25
The letter that the apostle James wrote back in the 1st century to fellow believers was one that was very practical for that time. It is also very practical and relevant for today. In this portion of the letter, James talks about several things that resonate very deeply in 2016.
We as a society are very quick to speak and quick to anger. James knew this was a bad combination and made a point to focus on that. Very easily we can shut off listening to people and just rant and rage. When we listen first and speak second, we hear the hearts and minds of those around us. Those that are in need, those that are struggling, those that are hurting. Then when the time is right for us to speak, we are in a better place to speak out of love and not out of anger.
Those that are followers of Jesus know the truth. We know that we are called to love God and love one another. We have the Gospel to share and it is our duty to share it and not just hear it. James also makes that clear in this passage in that we are to be doers and hearers and not just hearers. There is a world that is hurting and we are to carry that message of the One who brings comfort, the one who brings hope.
This week, let us be quick to listen to others. Let us be slow to speak until the time is right. Let us be slow to anger and show mercy and grace. And let us hear from God and do what He says. That is what being a follower of Jesus is about.