James 1:19-20 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.(NRSV)
Speaking and Listening
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I was just chatting by video conference the other day with Bob Beasley, a dear friend of mine in Canada. He made the point that civil dialogue amongst people of opposing views is all but a lost art these days.
And I would have to agree with him. These days it all seems to be about one person’s view defeating the other’s, about my dogma triumphing over yours, so to speak. Not only has public discourse become really quite ugly, but the brutality of it means that either we want to ratchet up our own rhetoric (after all, as a Christian I know that I have the truth, I know that I’m right!!) or opting out by shutting down and not speaking at all.
But neither of those are the answer – at least not someone who professes to believe in Jesus, not for someone who wants to follow in His footsteps and share His love with a lost and hurting world.
Here’s a Scripture I circle back to often in my own walk to guide me in how to interact with those who disagree with me:
James 1:19-20 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. (NRSV)
I love the sequence in that. Be quick to listen, then slow to speak and slow to anger. Perhaps another way of understanding that passage is this quote, written by an author unknown:
Listen in such a way that others will love to speak to you. Speak in such a way that others will love to listen to you.
In other words, gracious understanding, and loving, civil dialogue.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.