Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Truer words could not be written or spoken.
When I think about any regrets I have in my life it is generally things things I have said. And the things I regret were statements made without giving pause prior to them leaving my tongue. They were things said when my filter was turned off.
What caused my filter to shutdown? Anger.
Through the years I have learned that when anger comes upon me my best friend is silence. I have learned to shut up and not say something I’ll regret later or in most cases within a split second of the words leaving my mouth.
If anyone knows me they know that if I shutdown and walk away, I am trying to not let anger sharpen my tongue.
James like Paul had some early understanding of concepts that many years later would be professed by others like Stephen Covey.
Covey talks about this when discussing the first and most important of his “Seven Habit”, habit one “Being Proactive”.
In a post on his website dated December 5, 2008 he writes:
“The key to being proactive is remembering that between stimulus and response there is a space. That space represents our choice, how we will choose to respond to any given situation, person, thought or event. Imagine a pause button between stimulus and response and think about what is principle based response to your given situation. Listen to what your conscience tells you. Listen for what is wise and the principle based thing to do, and then act.”
James understood this way back when he wrote this letter to the church.
James goes on to say in Chapter 1 Verse 26:
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
Here James lets us know that religion is not words and rituals, it’s not buildings or organizations, it’s not a hierarchy of deacons, bishops, elders, priests, cardinals and popes.
Religion is a way of life and how we live that life. And here is the most important lesson you can learn in that life.
Shut up and listen!
After doing that, take a breath, turn on that internal filter between the brain and mouth. Think before you speak.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.