I felt my heartrate increase as I opened my mouth to refute the charges a dear friend was leveling against me. What I had posted online had nothing to do with her as she implied. But before I replied, I whispered a prayer. I then calmed down and heard what she was saying and the hurt behind her words. It was clear that this went further than the surface. My friend was hurting and my need to defend myself dissolved as I chose to help her address her pain.
During this conversation, I learned what James meant in today’s Scripture when he urged us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (1:19). Listening can help us hear what may be behind the words and to avoid anger that “does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (v. 20). It allows us to hear the heart of the speaker. I think stopping and praying helped me greatly with my friend. I became much more sensitive to her words versus my own offense. Perhaps if I hadn’t stopped to pray, I would have fired back my thoughts and shared how offended I was.
And while I haven’t always gotten the instruction James outlines right, that day, I think I did. Stopping to whisper a prayer before allowing anger and offense to take a hold of me was the key to listening quickly and speaking slowly (Proverbs 19:11). I pray that God will give me the wisdom to do this more often.
Source: Our Daily Breat