Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hot Potato

A pesky side effect of doing a Bible study of any kind is that it can get ALL UP IN YOUR BUSINESS. And last night the Beth Moore study of James that I'm working through did just that. 

Drat. It. All.

I was moving along just zippity fine until I got to this:

"My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger." (James 1:19)


Of course, to soothe my immediate unpleasant feelings of conviction,  I did a little self pep talk concerning that last  part:

"At least", I assured myself, "I don't have a problem with anger." "No sir-ee that is not at all an issue for me, thank God!"

Really. I know.

And to be perfectly honest, it's not. In my list of failings, anger is significantly far down the list... which of course, beautifully points out the fact that there are a heck of a lot of failings in line before it. 


So although feelings of anger rarely plague me, that's not to say that I might not need to take a better look at (and maybe a magnifying glass to)  those other two hot coals that Brother James had the audacity throw in there with the anger thing.

Quick to hear and slow to speak. They go hand in hand. Do I really listen to someone and think about what they've shared before responding? 

Could it be, as Beth Moore points out, that what  appears at times to be intent listening on my part, is actually just me being politely quiet as you talk while, sadly, I'm actually rehearsing in my mind what I'm going to say as soon as you PLEASE STOP WITH ALL THE YAMMERING?

Um, maybe.

And also could it be that even if I listen to your story/problem/worry without interrupting and then tell a similar story/problem/worry of my own in order to HELP YOU that I am, in fact, just hoping that my story/problem/worry will be more interesting/entertaining than yours?

Um, also maybe.

And might it also be true that this terrible habit reeks of narcissism and needs some definite work.

Yes, yes, it does.

Like I said, drat. And guilty as charged.

And although I think mine most often manifests itself in person-to person conversations, don't we also see this in social media contexts? It's not at all unusual for us to seem overly eager to pounce on and correct other's facts or grammar,  or to sometimes hijack a person's post or comment to divert the attention away from the post and onto ourselves. 

And while it's always easy to try to "hang this message around someone else's neck", I know without a doubt that it's first and sharpest arrow targeted my very own heart. 



Keeping in mind then how we are made and loved by God himself who gave us these mouths and thoughts, we should remember that the point clearly is not always to remain silent, but perhaps to "measure our speech with a yardstick, not a 50 foot industrial tape measure."

So, my memorization verse for this week? 

"A man of knowledge uses words with restraint and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent and discerning if he holds his tongue."
(Proverbs 17:27-28)

Forever a work in progress...

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