Thursday 06 February 2020

Bible Book:

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. (vs. 19-20)

James 1:19-27 Thursday 6 February 2020

Psalm: Psalm 131


In a previous career I used to train newspaper reporters to do their job. I was responsible for helping them learn how to conduct an interview, ask the right questions and then write something coherent.

The students were mostly people with good degrees and a high level of intelligence, but the business of researching a news story and writing it up in a punchy and intelligible way was a challenge for them.

Some were excellent but there were a few with particular problems – they thought their opinion mattered more than the protagonists and they ought to be able to say what they wanted; they couldn’t develop a professional interest in the people they spoke to in order to let their issue be aired.

A really good journalist listens properly and asks intelligent questions, whether the interviewee is a pigeon breeder, town councillor or a Hollywood legend. The resulting story lets the issue speak for itself.

For James, the righteous life that God wanted the Church to show came from deep listening to the word of God. It didn’t matter if someone had a reputation as a great speaker but it was essential to listen well before making your opinion known.

Either Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain is thought to have said: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.” That echoes a Jewish proverb: “Even fools who keep silent are considered wise; when they close their lips, they are deemed intelligent.”

The point is that wisdom comes from a place of serious listening and the actions that flow from it are more likely to be in line with the will of God. Hasty anger and slapdash opinions have no place among the people of God.


To Ponder:

  • Would you describe yourself as a good listener? If not, what could you do to develop that skill?
  • How can we be helped to engage in deep listening with the word of God?
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