Daily Devotion – James 1:19 – Our Words Matter

Swift to Hear Slow to Speak

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; James 1:19 NKJV

Watch Your Tongue

The most valuable joy and deepest pain stem from our relationships. The words we use can be a lighthouse to those around us or they can be a stench echoing in our minds. Woefully, once we have spoken hurtful words to someone we cannot take them back. The devastating effect on another person usually leaves them scarred, making it hard for them to forgive. Without humility, kind and thoughtful words, it’s more difficult for forgiveness to take place.

So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 1:19 NKJV

So how do we apply this scripture to our lives?

Waiting patiently for the other person to finish speaking or yelling! Our natural temptation is to respond quickly even if the person hasn’t finished speaking yet. I’ve learned that actively listening to a person’s words without irritation shows the person that you honestly care about them. Their tone of voice and facial expressions also reveal actually how upset, angry, or frustrated the person is. Acknowledging this makes it easier for us to know how we should respond.  Yelling back, rolling our eyes, and rudely interrupting them only escalate the matter to unhealthy levels. However, during our time of, swift to hear and slow to speak, we can ask God for wisdom. We can also say a little prayer that may be on our heart. This will help us be prepared to respond without anger and without stirring up greater anger in the other person.

A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 NKJV

It’s always regretful when we allow our flesh full control.  Thank God for His word that reveals to us who we are in Him. What He says about us is greater than what anyone else thinks or says of us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. This is why we must deal with our tongue and be a faithful witness to others.

Friends, we should be the peacemakers, self-controlled and spirit-filled believers; using our tongues wisely just as Jesus did. He knew what to say, when to say it and how to say it- a perfect example for us to follow.

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:6

I admit friends this is not easy to apply to your life, but I know that nothing is impossible with God. It’s a daily practice that’s been tough for me. I still mess up at times, but I always repent and keep moving forward. Don’t give up friends; keep pressing on even if you mess up. God is always with us. Trust in him and his word and keep moving forward.

I know that I want to be a godly example to others for their edification and not for their hindrance.

  • Are your words tearing down your most valuable relationships?
  • Do you speak the same way your non-believing friend does?
  • Are your responses impulsive?
  • Do you snap at your parents or children when you are too busy for them?

Prayer

Lord help us with the use of our words that we may be swift to listen, slow to speak and slow to wrath. Always let our words be graciously seasoned with salt giving us the wisdom to know how to answer each person that we encounter in our lives.

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