Listen and Be Slow to Speak

Will You Act or React?

I try to operate under a simple reminder with the use of my words. It goes like this: “I have said many words that I have regretted. But I have never regretted words that I did not say.” Why does this reminder serve as a filter for me? I can answer it with one word….“Regret.” Regret is a sense of being ashamed of one’s self. It is to be sorry. Contrite. Remorseful. Repentant. 

True repentance gives us an opportunity for a do-over. But true repentance also requires a sincere effort with avoidance of a previous mistake. The word-filter I speak of gives me time to listen and measure my response so that I will use my words honorably and to God’s glory. I do this, for I sincerely regret many of the words I have spoken in my past.

When a word leaves your mouth it can never be brought back. It is out there as a constant reminder that this word came from you. Does it bless or curse a person? If it hurts someone, it will eventually come back to hurt you. Now I understand that there are some sly people who are skilled in getting gossip or slander out and distancing themselves as the source. They delight in this undermining of a victim. I have known some of these people, and they are lowest on my respect meter because of their practice. 

But the truth is, even though they think their sneaky work is toward another person, they are undermining themselves and distancing themselves from the Lord. Don’t join that crowd. If you want to be Jesus’ disciple. Learning to control your tongue is essential.

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

James 1:19

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