Slow to Speak

How often does your mouth get you into trouble? Most of us do pretty well…outside the house…but how many struggle with keeping Christ-like with our immediate family?

James 1:19 says,

“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.”

What a practical scripture! But putting it into practice, in the heat of the moment? Yipes (as my six year old would say!)

I claim to be a pretty laid-back individual, but I’ve been known to lose it with my dear children. It’s usually when I’m running late and I think they’re not hopping fast enough. It’s the pits too, I hate raising my voice…would shudder and cringe if it was caught on videotape! (Who is that woman shrilling like a fishwife! Not me!?) But still I do it. And I apologize, a lot.

Further in the same passage, in James 1:26, we’re warned,

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” 

What is your “religion” behind closed doors? None of us want to emulate a “worthless” religion to our children. Breaking the habit on our own is impossible, but the good news is that though we are weak, He is strong.

So back to applying the James 1:19 verse to all our relationships…how we react to husbands/wives, sisters/brothers, parents and children…

“Be swift to hear.” Cultivate a sensitivity to God’s presence throughout the day. Put Him first, so you can hear Him speak to your heart. Be alert for the “hot spots” and immediately confess your weakness and ask for help!

“Slow to speak.” What headaches we’d save ourselves if we’d just keep our thoughts to ourselves and pray instead, amen? I’m already sinning when I’m impatient, chances are, anything that comes out of my mouth when I’m in that sinful state of mind is going to be hurtful to those around me. Why is it so much easier to keep the rein tight on our tongue when in the presence of church friends…to smile sweetly and come across as the best mommy in the universe? Hm. I’m trying to nip this sin in the bud when it surfaces in impatience, and a big way in doing so is determining to say nothing or say something appreciative. Such as: “Thank you, ‘daughter’, you’re such a good help when I’m running late!”

“Slow to anger.” Anger is right up there with the sin of adultery and murder, folks. And I don’t believe that one sin is worse than another, they just have different earthly consequences. This is really a biggie with most of us, whether we blame it on “German roots” or not. ;O) Make it a matter of prayer, “Lord, today, help me to be slow to anger. Remind me to be slow to anger.”

Whatever habit you have that is hurtful in the relationships around you, it can be broken with God’s help. Remember the same power that raised Christ from the dead is there for God’s people!

Break those bad habits by getting familiar with and listening for the voice of God.

Isaiah 30:21,

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”

11 thoughts on “Slow to Speak”

  1. What a great admonition to consider and choose our words instead of letting opportunity dictate them. It’s so easy to find ourselves in situations and then react incorrectly because of the stress or pressure of the moment. It’s at times like these that we have to come up with something like you said where we can take a step back.

    The only part I would quibble about is the whole “anger is a sin” thing and only on a technicality. Ungodly anger is a sin, but God has both expressed anger and even in that statement “slow to anger” indicates that there is a time when anger is justified. It’s only ever right, though, when it’s not anger about what’s happening to me, but what is happening to God.

  2. Thank you. I needed to read a post like this today. I”ve been struggling with how to get a grip on thoughts and actions and you have me good food for thought.

  3. I think that this is so pertinent to today’s culture…especially that of women (sorry, ladies). We are so quick to speak, and even quicker to judgement calls and decisions. Thank you for your honesty on this topic–it’s easy to think we are the best of ourselves and disregard the worst of our nature. What wisdom to keep the our mouth shut until we sense the go-ahead from the Father; what a reward to know we are becoming ever more like Christ when we make the choice to slow down.

  4. You’re absolutely right, MInTheGap. I wasn’t thinking of godly anger when I wrote that. The kind of anger to which I referred is a sin.

    Thanks Annette and Chanda for dropping in! Glad we can encourage each other, your comments do that for me. :O)

    Leticia, yes, yes, yes!

  5. Man oh man! THIS has been an issue for me the past few days! Well, it always is, but I’ve been failing a lot more lately than normal. I’m too tired and not close enough to God right now.

    Heavenly Father, thank you for Mary and using her to remind me of where I need to be right now & the repentance I need to make. Love, Me.

  6. Amen Sister.

    I wish I could say that I even guard my tongue in public. But I am all too aware that I routinely embarrass my husband (whose tongue is under much better control than mine!) with my impatience with our kids, even in public. It is really unjustified. I know that what I am doing is a sin. Seems like I see this vision of who God wants me to be, and it is this peaceful, controlled, gentle, meek, soft hearted but firm woman: I am SO far from that! But I keep catching glimpses of her. I find myself doing something that is truly meek and gentle, and I nearly jump at my own reflection! She hardly seems like me, but the Lord is doing a wonderful work in my heart.

    Thanks for this reminder.
    In Love,
    Mrs. Meg Logan

  7. Oh, this spoke to me. Especially during “those times of the month.”
    This weekend, I blew it several times, and said I was sorry several times.
    But it’s true…if we all treated our families like we do strangers, our families would sometimes have it much better!

  8. Jessica, thank you, that meant a lot!

    Mrs. Meg Logan, thank you for sharing from your heart, it ministered to me.

    Tammy, exactly. We can “excuse” this behavior in many ways, but really, there’s no excuse is there? Thank God for grace!

    It helps to know I’m not alone in this struggle! God bless you all…hugs to you all this busy Christmas week!

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