Quenching the Thirst:
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
-- James 1:19-21
Drinking it In:
The tag line from one of my favorite shows. Something I don't say often. Something I do even less.
I'm engaged in conversation & I may hear the words, but I'm busy formulating my response. Or, while I'm not preparing my portion of the dialogue (which, let's be honest, could be a monologue as far as I'm concerned), I'm preoccupied with other, more important issues. Like what I'm cooking for dinner, or what that blogger wrote, or how I can't wait to get home and read, nap, blog, etc.
Quick to listen? Not so much.
Quick to speak? Oh, yeah.
Quick to become angry? Depends on the situation.
It occurs to me that if I were quicker to listen, I'd be slower to speak. I'd be so focused on what the other person is saying (verbally and non-verbally) that I would want to give it some serious thought before just blithely offering my opinion. I'd be slower to anger, too. I'd better understand where the other person was coming from. I might even be...dare I say it...more compassionate.
I'm listening wouldn't be some trite phrase. It would be a genuine, willful act.
What a difference that would make.
~How often do I tune people out because I'm not genuinely interested in what they're saying?
~Do I truly listen to others before I speak? Before giving advice that isn't Biblical, or getting angry/offended?
~When I am angry, am I acting righteously or self-righteously? Am I more worldly or Godly?
~When I am angry, do I lose control and allow moral filth & evil to come out of my mouth? If so, these things are in my heart (Matt. 12:34)
Pouring it Out:
Father, you have pricked my heart with this one! I pray that you will give me a heart that will truly listen to others. Not just with my ears, Lord...but to focus on others and hear what You hear. Lord, remind me that I have two ears and one mouth...that I should be listening twice as much as I'm speaking. Keep me from becoming angry without cause. Lord, when I am rightfully angered, give me a double portion of your mercy, that I may show mercy to the offender. Lord, guard my heart so that moral filth and evil will not penetrate it, and will not flow forth when I'm angry. Help me to remember that I'm a witness for you, in every day and in every situation. Capture my heart, Lord Jesus. Amen.