Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. — James 1:19
Growing up I wasn’t slow in everything — just anything that required running. Well, running that involved use of my feet. I was extremely quick when it came to running my mouth. I was well versed in the ways of sarcasm and gifted with a very quick wit. I was also pretty nimble when it came to defending myself or being argumentative.
My father always said I had to had to get the last word in; well, he was right. I now have a daughter who has inherited that trait from me. (I’ll have to apologize to my dad when I get to heaven now that I know how aggravating it can be.) Undoubtedly, this led to another issue my mother so lovingly referred to as “selective hearing.”
Children with these problems grow into adults with these problems, at least that was the case for Scott Underwood. I feel pretty safe assuming I’m not the first one like that nor the last. Especially considering James addressed it here in this verse by saying “let everyone,” not to mention all the other Scripture passages referencing issues of the tongue, the mouth, and our words.
Our words are a powerful tool.
But as with any tool, they have the ability to build up or tear down. No matter what we learned as a child, words do hurt. Everyone of us somewhere in the corner of our minds carry the words someone has hurled at us — and it hurts! Knowing that pain, why would we chose to do that to anyone else? Especially someone we love? Particularly our spouses?
I’d venture to say often we don’t chose to hurt each other, it just happens. Feelings get hurt, expectations are unmet, tempers flair, ears shut, and words fly like fiery arrows. The result is unintentionally wounding the ones we love.
At least that’s what we like to tell ourselves. The truth is, when we discount James’ counsel by not choosing to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger we have made our choice — and it’s the wrong one.
A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back. — Proverbs 29:11
Too many times in my 44 years and most importantly the last 20 I’ve played the fool by losing my temper, running my mouth, and shutting my ears. The first two words in James 1:19 are “Know this.” Honestly, knowing it isn’t my problem. Sometimes there is a wide gap between my knowledge and actions. I know how to get to the gym but still I choose not to go. I know — but I don’t always do.
What if today we intentionally choose to be quick to hear our spouses’ deepest heartfelt longings, their fears, their struggles, and their concerns? What if today we decided to carefully choose our words, mindful of their impact? What if today we refused to be quickly angered? Imagine the impact these choices could have —making your marriage a place of peace instead of strife.
Today we all have a choice, may we choose wisely.
Father, Today give us the wisdom to mindfully listen to the hearts of our spouses and others we love. Give us words to speak that are filled with grace and life. In times I must speak a difficult truth, may it be clearly spoken with genuine love.
Give me strength to put my selfish desires aside by purposefully choosing to be slow to anger and instead pursuing graciousness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.#MarriagePrayers: Give us the wisdom to mindfully listen to the hearts of our spouses. (James 1:19) Click To Tweet
Thank you for joining us for #MarriagePrayers: 31 Verses to Pray for Your Marriage. Scott and I will be sharing a new verse and prayer every day throughout May, leading up to our 20th anniversary on June 1. You can find every day’s post indexed here. We pray you will be encouraged and challenged as you pray God’s Word for your marriage.