Be Slow to Speak


Learn to be a better listener so that you can really hear the needs of others.

Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak (James 1:19, NRSV).
Why must I learn this lesson over and over? To dominate a conversation is to show a lack of respect for those I am with. To enjoy the sound of my words too much is self-centered. To talk over someone’s words because I think mine are more important is egotistical. That’s not the person I want to be.
We’ve always been a little “hard of hearing.” Jesus spoke in parables because “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13, NRSV). We humans can be a little slow sometimes.
My desire is to hold my tongue and listen to others so that I can hear what their hearts are longing for. I can then hear that a man’s wife is ill...
that a mother is losing her apartment... that a young woman is being laid off at work... that a twentysomething man is battling drugs... that someone is going without food. If I genuinely hear people, I will truly know how to help them.
Christ is the Ultimate Listener. It is He who hears our cries and intercedes for us. I want to learn from His example.
FAITH STEP: Can you think of times when you have diminished someone by not truly listening to them or when you have enjoyed the sound of your own voice more than theirs? Listen first and speak second today.

Written by Judy Baer
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