Most Sundays, I find a little quiet time when my husband takes my oldest daughter to the grocery store to watch a live message from church. I love watching Andy Stanley, and I feel like he preaches about passages in a way that relates to everyone, even non-believers. I think that is what’s so great about his sermons, because he wants to reach everyone and teach them about Jesus, even if they have no knowledge of Him.
This Sunday, I had to catch up and watch the first message in the current series called Me and My Big Mouth, and the title of the message is Quick to Listen. If you have 40 minutes, you can listen to it HERE. The passage in the Bible that sparked this message is James 1:19-20.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
That passage and message hit me really hard, and is something that I have struggled with and am going to work on. Ever since I watched it, I’ve been linking it to everything going on in politics right now and in friendships. The main message is this: In an argument or discussion, we need to be quick to listen and slow to speak. That means that we need to truly listen to the other person’s ideas/points and not be thinking about how we are going to reply. If we are thinking about our reply, we’re not truly understanding. Then we need to ask questions if we don’t understand where the other person is coming from, instead of assuming.
Even if we believe we are right in the argument, we need to understand that the other person also believes that THEY are also right. We need to understand that God does not want us to be right at one another, but right with one another. That really got to me. And when James says “anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” he is SO right! Everyone is concerned with rightness, and self righteousness, but that is NOT the righteousness that we need to be striving for.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I keep reading this chapter in James and it gets me even more hyped. Verse 26 says “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” SO MANY people need to hear this. We(I’m just as guilty) as Christians need to be better about our actions and words and truly reflect how God wants us to be.
I know that this message could be helpful in my own marriage and in my own friendships. When someone tells me that I’ve hurt them, instead of claiming my own hurt or defending my actions, I will affirm their feelings and apologize. When I know I’m right, instead of stating my case with evidence or shutting down, I will be curious and patient while the other person explains their point of view. I wish more people would practice this too, and I feel like the world would be much more peaceful.
Try practicing this in your own relationships and let me know how it goes. You’ll make it, mama!