James 1:19-20 – 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.
We can learn to be slow to wrath, by first learning to be swift to hear and slow to speak. Much of our anger and wrath comes from being self-centered and not others-centered. Swift to hear and slow to speak are ways to be others-centered. Being swift to hear means that you should be ready to hear from the word of God, as well as, all godly counsel and correction. To be slow to speak means you are being guarded in all your conversations. It has been wisely noticed that “God has given to man one tongue, but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.” Solomon said in Proverbs 13:3, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.” In light of the nature of human temptation and the goodness of God, we must take special care to be slow to wrath, because our wrath does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Our wrath almost always simply defends or promotes our own agenda.
This verse does not suggest that you should not speak, but that you should be slow to speak. We also see that wrath is not something to be avoided at all cost, but rather, a tool to be used as a last resort. The bible says to “be angry, and do not sin.” There are times and situation where anger is needed, but we must not sin in our anger by taking revenge on someone wrongly. Do you respond, at times, without thinking before hand or without stepping back and considering how you should respond? Have you ever regretted what you said to someone because you spoke too soon? Every one of us has, so your challenge this week is to resist the temptation to speak too quickly and to take time to consider how God would have you to respond in your every situation. Seek the help of the Holy Spirit to assist you in hearing twice as much as you speak. As Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath…,” may you seek, in every way, God’s perfect answer and response. God knows all sides to every situation, so waiting for HIs instruction is always best. Better to take a minute and respond correctly, than to regret what you said later.