Sometimes.....um,...or, actually quite often..... I will say what I am thinking.
Before, maybe, I think about it. And it gets me in trouble.
Being opinionated usually does get you in trouble.
I was recently asked to share my "wisdom" at a Shower for a young couple about to embark on the marriage adventure. While I love to teach, this instilled a bit of fear in me. Why? Because I am still, even after 26 years, learning so much about how to be a wife. So I started praying.
What do you want me to teach about dear Lord?
Given my confession about my mouth above, I was rather surprised when God directed me to a passage of Scripture, James 1:9, about communication. Or maybe I shouldn't be surprised. Maybe I should be grateful. God not only wanted me to share something.......He wanted me to learn (or remember?) something.
Teaching is always a scary proposition. Not because I am scared of speaking in front of people. I actually enjoy that. It is just that when I teach, I don't ever want to give the impression that I am trying to tell someone else about something because I have already arrived. Nope. Not even close.
I am still on the learning journey.
So here is my disclaimer: I am still learning what I am sharing below. With my husband. With my children. With almost everyone I have a conversation with.
Here are things God is still trying to teach me:
Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. ~James 1:9
Quick to Hear:
Our first command is to be quick to hear.
This is the linchpin, the main cog in the wheel. If this doesn't happen, the next two commands are impossible. If I am not quick to hear then I will say something wrong and will get angry for the wrong reason.
Make your ear attentive to wisdom.
Incline your heart to understanding.
So not only do I need to be quick to hear. I have to listen with both my ears and my heart. This is an active listening, not just a cessation of speaking. It is more than keeping my mouth closed, but it is keeping my heart open.
Slow to Speak
Okay- confession. This one is REALLY hard for me. I mean, having words to say is usually not my problem. Keeping them to myself is my problem. But listen to this Proverb:
The one who guards his mouth preserves his life.
The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Uh-oh. I need to put a guard over my mouth. Like a German shepherd dog, or a soldier with a bazooka. The consequences of not doing so are pretty serious apparently. Listen to this one:
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
I would much rather be wise than come to ruin. But why is it so important for us to restrain our lips?
Because of what the tongue can do according to James 3:
- set off forest fires
- defile entire body
- can't be tamed
- restless evil
- full of deadly poison
That is pretty serious stuff. Because of the damage we can do to each other, we must restrain our tongue. We must be slow to speak!
He who restrain his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
A cool spirit. A man of understanding. Sounds like someone who is...
Slow To Anger
This is a hard one too. Maybe if I was quicker to listen and slower to speak it wouldn't be. Maybe those two things are first because they are what make this command possible for passionate people like me.
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty.
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.
Oh, to rule my spirit instead of being ruled by it.
So, there is God's prescription for taming the tongue.
It is what I shared with the young couple. But more importantly it what is what God wants me to do. In my marriage. In my home. In my homeschool. In my church. In my neighborhood.
Quick to listen.
Slow to speak.
Slow to anger.
Amen. Let it be so.