Friday, October 25, 2019

A Good Word for our World

Our church's College Group is currently studying through the book of James on Tuesday nights, and a few weeks ago we tackled the last section of chapter one. The passage begins with a really famous verse of the Bible, one that continues to rattle through my heart and mind weeks later.

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” ~ James 1:19

How good is that?! And how appropriate for our present world?! I’m pretty convinced that verse might be the most important and relevant verse of scripture for our current cultural moment.

In a world that rarely listens, speaks too much, and is constantly on edge and up at arms, these words from James are a balm to our collective soul. In a divided world where difference is to be debated and opinions are to be argued, the challenges of listening, silence, and peace are revolutionary concepts.

Which is why these words have failed to fade over the few weeks. I need them. I need to be reminded that listening is way more important than talking. I need to be reminded that when my first inclination is to spout off knowledge or opinion, being slow to speak is the wiser course of action. And when my low-grade frustration with different ideas and challenging people percolates, James’ words are a beautiful reminder that anger is antithetical to God’s peaceable kingdom.

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” ~ James 1:19

So, may we ingest these words and be shaped by their wisdom. May the pace of our lives be slow enough that we actually listen to those in our midst. May we resist the urge to always speak our minds and make our point. And may we be people who are not conquered by the lure of anxiety and anger, instead choosing the kindness, peace, and love of Jesus as we engage with our world.

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