Quick to listen, slow to speak ...

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. -James 1:19-21 NLT

These words are hard to walk out. This New Yorker has always been quick with a response. My mouth has gotten me in so much trouble. You think that I would have learned by now. What is it about us that finds it so hard to simply listen? I wonder if we confuse the word 'hear' with 'listen'. Hearing is something you do with your ears but listening is something that you do with your heart. To listen requires us to engage a part of ourselves that is often hard to access.

Perhaps if we really listened and engaged our hearts we would not be so angered. Paul tells us in the book of Galatians that self control and patience are fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we are following His lead in our hearts we find the ability to hear past the words and the emotion of the moment. In truth, many disagreements escalate to fights simply because we only hear with our ears. What is needed most in these times is the patience and self control to listen with our hearts.

Place a guard over my mouth today dear Lord. Help me to listen with my heart instead of with my ears.

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