James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”
Long school zones are the worst when you’re in a hurry! It’s hard to drive 20mph because, in our impatience, we want to get where we’re going. You know what’s also aggravating and dangerous? The people who drive way too slow in the fast lane on the highway. Going 40 when the speed limit is 65 is also risky — and if a collision were to occur, it would be devastating. What’s the point? We have to slow down or speed up at the appropriate time.
In today’s verse, God’s giving us the two most important speed limit signs of relational success —”be quick to listen and slow to speak.” He wants us to hurriedly listen and go at a snail’s pace to speak. Why? Because when we go the wrong speed limits in the “school zones” and “fast lanes” of communication, the outcome can be costly. However, when we apply God’s relational wisdom to our conversations, it’s one of the greatest ways to show others that we value them, hear them, and truly care what they have to say.
Surely you’ve heard the saying, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason!” The more we listen, the more we learn. And the better we are at listening, the more others will start to pay attention to what we have to say — our vested interest in them is reciprocated. It’s a relational win-win when we give our undivided attention to the person before us. Everyone we connect with deserves our full concentration and complete consideration. Therefore, as James advises, go the speed limit on the road to relational success.
Today, cut your speaking in half and double your listening. You will be amazed by the difference it makes in all your conversations. And as you listen, look the other person in the eyes to indicate you are giving them your full attention.
God, You are the ultimate listener! When I pray, I know You hear every word I say. Help me improve my listening that I may truly hear Your voice and speak life into all my conversations. In Jesus’ name, Amen.