James 1:19 teaches that every man (and woman) needs to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. Our tendency is just the opposite. We are slow to hear . . . quicker to speak . . . and quickest to anger. It’ easy to get angry. It is easy to speak without thinking which is what makes speaking quicker. It is hard to listen.
The way to be quick to hear is to listen slowly. Oxymoron – yes. But the thing about oxymorons is that though they don’t make sense – they’re true.
Charles Swindoll tells on himself. He is a popular writer and speaker. One day he says he found himself so busy . . too many commitments . . . not enough time to do all he needed to do. You know the feeling. As a result he was tense and up tight. He was snapping at his wife and children and feeling irritated. By the way he has written a book entitled Stress Fractures. I haven’t read it, but the title says a lot.
It was supper time. His youngest daughter said, Daddy, I wanna tell you something and I’ll tell you really fast. He sensed his daughter was frustrated with him. He replied, Honey you can tell me – and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slow. To which she said, OK, then listen slowly!!!
Sometimes we need to listen slowly. Slow down with the pace of life. Relax and take the tension out of your life. Listen s-l-o-w-l-y. Don’t over-commit so that we have t-i-m-e to be quick to hear. The slower we listen, which is another way of saying quick to hear, the less we say things we shouldn’t say and the less angry we become.
I like the thought – listen slowly!