It is so easy to blurt out something and then wish that you could take it back. Often something slips out of your mouth so fast that you don’t know how it got out. Many times in anger things can come out of your mouth that you later regret. If you are any thing like me it is so easy to not carefully choose words. James exhorts Christians in chapter 1 verse 19 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”.
Let’s look more closely at what some of these words mean in this verse. The Bible was not originally written in English, it had to be translated. So I have looked at some of the words in the verse and the biblical use of the word.
My dear (agapētos (Greek) beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love)
Brothers (adelphos (Greek) any fellow or man; a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection; brethren in Christ; Christians, as those who are exalted to the same heavenly place) take note of this:
Everyone (pas (Greek) individually, each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything)
should be quick (tachys (Greek) quick, fleet, speedy)
to listen (akouō (Greek) to attend to, consider what is or has been said; to understand, perceive the sense of what is said)
slow to speak (laleō (Greek) to use words in order to declare one's mind and disclose one's thoughts, utter tell, to use the tongue)
and slow to become angry (orgē (Greek) anger, the natural disposition, temper, character; movement or agitation of the soul, impulse, desire, any violent emotion, but esp. anger
So the main thing that this verse encourages us as believers to do is to watch the way that was interact with others. When a dispute comes up was need to be QUICK to listen to what the other person says, SLOW to become angry and SLOW to speak. If we are more careful to consider what others are saying and slow to declare our own thoughts and ideas then it will be less likely that words will come out of our mouth that we will later regret saying.
So the next time you are provoked to want to speak or act in anger remember that in God’s word we are encouraged to be instead quick to listen and slow to speak. Think of your words as honeycomb. Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Kind words can bring healing and add sweetness to someone’s life. Let’s work on bringing sweetness to other’s lives, not bitterness. Be slow to voice your opinions and be quick to listen to others.