James

James 1:19 Hear Before Speaking And Acting.

“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (v. 19). With the words “so then” at the start of this verse, James refers back to what he said about believers being the “firstfruits of His creation.” James also makes clear that he regards his readers as “beloved brethren,” and three things are noted as to what should mark out the beloved. First of all we should be “swift to hear.” The word for ‘swift’ is ‘tachus’, which means to be prompt or ready. So our first instinct when someone speaks should be to be prompt and ready to hear what someone has to say, and by what follows, to hear before we act. Secondly, we must be slow to speak. If we are truly ready to hear, we will not presume to speak until we have heard the person out who is speaking. To begin speaking before having listened attentively, is to not really hear what someone is saying. It is also true that the more we say, the more there is an opportunity to sin. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Pr. 10:19 Cf. Pr.17:27). Jesus said, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Mt. 5:37). Finally, just as it is important to delay speaking until one has let another to fully speak, by the same measure it is equally important to fully discuss a matter before one acts. Our goal must be “the righteousness of God,” and not “the wrath of man.” “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Pr. 16:32).

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