Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. James 1:19-20
Listen: James 1
James gets straight to the point about words because as goes speech—so goes the relationship. He knows that his readers are struggling to get along and it will take some practical advice to get them back on track. He tells them to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James knows anger can dominate conversations and bully others—but it can’t accomplish the righteousness God desires.
Paul writes something similar to a different church in Colossians 3:12-13. He tells them to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Both Paul and James write to Christians about their speech because a controlled tongue doesn’t happen overnight. Even today, it takes work to gain control over our tongue. Our tongue can go out of control when we are cut off while driving, told we have to work the weekend or the car breaks down.
Gaining control of our tongues starts with controlling of our anger as Senior Pastor Jeff Manion describes in the video clip below. Fortunately, Paul and James give us some great places to start: be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry as we put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Consider the words, tone, and attitude behind how you relate. Write down one area to work on this week whether it be anger, gossip, complaining or whining—and then follow through. Pray for God’s Spirit to help you as you take steps to improve this area of your speech all week.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.