Prayer: Wisdom let us attend. Peace be unto all. Great God, through our times of prayer and meditation and reflecting upon Your word may we grow in to the person that You would have us be. Amen.
Read James 1: 19 - 21
Learning to control speech is the beginning of wisdom. James tells us that we must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.
Quick to listen. This isn't as easy as it sounds. Quick to listen. Listening to another person by giving them your full attention isn't easy. Some people have the gift of listening while others have to work on listening. Listening means focussing on what the other person is saying as well as watching their actions. If you are talking to someone about a heated topic and they fold their arms across their chest, this means they are needing to give themselves a hug and they also are usually in disagreement with what is being discussed. In our culture, eye contact is important to know if another person is listening to our words. In other cultures, direct eye contact is a no no as it is a challenge or affront of their being.
Listening means hearing and seeing what the other person is saying and not thinking what one is going to have for lunch. Listening each Sunday to the Sermon is also a way to practice listening to the whole person as well as learning how we are to grow as Christians.
Slow to speak. In this day of e-mails, texting, instantgram, and facebook, there is not much slow of speech. Slow of speech does not mean we talk very slowly. Slow of speech means we think before we speak. this is the beginning of wisdom. When we are in a heated argument or passionate discussion about our beliefs, it is better to think about what we are to say before we rattle off at the mouth and end up word-injuring our friends and debaters. In Brandon we have a community website called "ebrandon". It was developed some years ago by Adam. On the website are things for sale, restaurant menus, wishes, deaths, jobs, movie schedules, community events, news, weather, and the discussion page. People can use their own names but the majority use a nickname. Having read this website now for five years, I wonder if the people in discussion of a topic would be as hurtful and bold if they were standing face to face. It is easy to tell the world your beliefs and disgusts online behind a nickname. It is not easy to tell the world your beliefs and disgusts in person. As Christians, we need to be the same online as well as meeting people face to face. Slow to speak is the beginning of wisdom.
Slow to become angry. Isn't it funny how easily we become angry. Anger is usually negative stuff that takes a lot of energy out of our wholeness. I've noticed that people waiting in line ups begin to tsk tsk tsk after five minutes. After ten minutes, people are getting down right snarly. And by the time the person arrives to the check out clerk, the person is just about breathing fire and the poor check out clerk gets the brunt of their fire. As Christians, we are not supposed to be fire breathers. Why do we get angry when we stand in check out line ups? Usually because we are wearing our heavy winter coats and we over heat which causes our blood sugars to do amusing things. And we are standing in one spot which again causes our blood sugars to do amusing things. Our tempers flare. So, how do we stop becoming fire breathers and flaring our tempers? Practice. Each day when we notice we are getting hot under the collar, stop for a minute and think why we are getting hot under the collar. Lift up in prayer to God a "Good grief, I am cranky and angry. Help". Focus on the positive. This is the process of slow to become angry.
This day, let us listen to others and hear their voices and their actions... let us become slow to speak and say what we know will glorify God... let us become slow to anger and bring joy into other people's lives instead of heartache.
Prayer: Help us this day and always O LORD, to listen to Your voice, to really hear what other people are saying. Help us this day and always O LORD, to be slow to speak. Help us this day and always O LORD to be slow to become angry. This we ask in Your Son's Holy Name. Amen.