ARE YOU QUICK TO SPEAK OR QUICK TO LISTEN?
Updated: Aug 26, 2019
This is a blog that applies to all of us. I believe it will be helpful to read and re-read it often so you may want to save it somewhere on your computer. I believe this blog will equip us all to be more honorable people, in word and in deed, as our words are more powerful than we think.
Portions of Proverbs 18:
"Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions."
"Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating."
"The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.'
"The first to speak in court sounds right—until the cross-examination begins."
"Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction."
"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences."
Every generation has it's own cultures and ways of communicating and that's all good. Unfortunately, we lose the significance of some words when this happens. Some words have been buried deep within the vocabulary of this generation but need a good resurrection and FOOL is one of them.
Fool: a person who acts unwisely or imprudently; a silly person; poor judgement. synonyms- idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus,
No one wants to be put in that category, and scripture reminds us not to use it lightly- but it doesn't make it any less true. Any of us at any given moment could put ourselves in the place of being called a fool, from a lack of good judgement or discretion, so I say that carefully and humbly. When we speak before we listen we look like a fool. In this world where everyone has an opinion, listening has become a lost art. Social media is the worst place for this as it appears to have a wall that makes us feel protected and even sheltered from the consequences of our actions. It provides a false sense of entitlement and security that escalates the spirit of pride, which is bringing devastating effects on relationships. 99% of people would never say to another person standing in front of them what they share on social media, because they are looking straight in their eyes- and there is great value in proximity.
Everyone wants to speak- but who is listening?
What if we placed as much value on listening as we do speaking?
Do we even realize how foolish we sound sometimes by opening our mouths too soon without all the facts?
Do we understand the damage we are doing to people by "saying what needs to be said?"
What about the dishonor that it brings to them, ourselves and most of all the Lord?
Prov. 18:13 If one gives answer before hearing, it is folly and shame.
Immaturity and pride are behind many words spoken hastily and prematurely. Why do we assume the worst in people, and why do we think we need to weigh in? Why does bad news and gossip travel faster than good news and edification?
This way of being and doing on a continual basis is destructive not only to our own destiny but to the destinies and lives of others. Words build others up or tears them down. Sure we can view it as immaturity at first, especially when we are young, but at some point we must grow up and shut up and see it for what it truly is-pride, rebellion, arrogance, strife, idleness, self righteous, smug and haughty behavior.
James 1:26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
Pride got Satan kicked out of heaven, and it will keep us from entering it. It wasn't just something he said rashly, it was his heart that was bad, and our hearts will get there too if we don't see it for what it is. Some people have a bad day and have a lapse in judgement by speaking too quickly, but some have a bad heart and have allowed pride to enter and take over. All of us deal with pride on some level, but we must be honest enough to see when it has become a stronghold in our lives, so we can get delivered from it. Let's call it what it is-it is sin and likened to rebellion and witchcraft in scripture. (1 Samuel 15:23)
Isaiah 2:12,17-18 The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), .... The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear.
We may think the culture around us hasn't shaped us into thinking pridefully, but that is delusional at best. The pop culture of "have it your way" or "I did it my way" is selfish and destructive, along with all of the atmospheres we enter into on a daily basis. If we don't slow down and discern the atmosphere before too long we will be joining in with the gossip and rhetoric instead of shunning and condemning it. Atmospheres matter way more than we realize. I entered a negatively charged atmosphere the other day and realized I had succumbed to it in a heart beat and repented quickly. It's a slippery slope folks, and easy to do, so correct yourself quickly and repent.
Atmospheres at work, in the market place and everywhere we go are not governed well on the most part and are filled with all kinds of filth and vileness. There are angry people everywhere, spewing out words of hate and division, and we will slip right into agreement with hell if we are not discerning what is in the air around us. Satan is the prince and power of the air, the bible says, and he rides on the words and in the frequencies and airways, paved by disgruntled people. That is why being slow to speak and quick to listen must be heeded and implemented in our lives if we are to escape the pit-fall.
James 1:19-25 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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.
Being quick to respond is prideful for sure, but it gets its hooks in us when we live lifestyles of haste and hurry. Hurry is an enemy to our faith, humility and our peace and must be guarded against for the enemy it is. Hurry causes us to rush into unrighteous judgments against others, especially people we are to be in community with. This is a strategy of hell for sure-so we must not allow this in our hearts.
What happened to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you?" Look-I'm not saying we get it right all the time. I have surely spoken out of turn too soon, many times. Sometimes I have been asked my opinion and I should have just kept it to myself. Your opinion may be spot on, but not everyone you share it with is worthy of hearing it. People will use your words against you, even if your words are true. And sometimes when they are severely wounded they will filter what you say through their own issues and it comes out with all their own filth attached to it. It's easy to get caught up in the moment especially when we are offended with other people already, so that's why we must be continually dealing with our own stuff first, before ever entering into a judgement on others. We must make sure our judgments are based on truth and from a pure place-not from offense. Yes we are called to judge things, the word of God is clear on this, but we cannot judge things righteously when we ourselves are dealing with rejection, hurts, wounds or offense.
We must be SLOW TO SPEAK and QUICK TO LISTEN.
If we apply this principle, then we won't be deceived when hell turns up the volume and heat us or on someone else. Slowing down and taking the time to mull over what you have heard-especially with Holy Spirit will help you rightly discern what is at work-then you will know whether to respond or not. Maybe the Lord just wants you to pray for them. Angry and offended people will respond quickly and won't search out the matter with God or others- and this is your sign . It could be your own sign for your own issues or a sign to not entertain the nasty words coming from someone else. Not everything is our business anyway and we concern ourselves in matters we should have nothing to do as it separates friends and many times stirs up division in the Body of Christ.
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
This scripture right here ain't no joke, as it is one to be mindful of often and readily heeded. Take a moment to pause here on this scripture- I sure have.
Also pay attention to the one speaking the gossip and question the motive for the conversation. Did they call or contact you out of the blue? Do you have a common offense with that person?
Hell is looking for your agreement when it comes to offense, so you may want to remember that when someone comes to you with information on someone else. What's your litmus test for this?
is their speech condemning and prideful?
does it benefit them or their position on a matter?
does it stir up anger or resentment in you?
does it divide friends?
Your agreement and subsequent responses gives hell what it is looking for, so it can legally attack the person. It is waiting to throw daggers at them-through your mouth. Why do you think we need the shield of faith that the Apostle Paul talks about in Ephesians 6?
Ephesians 6:16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
We need the shield of faith to stop the arrows that precede out of the mouths of others towards us. Hell gets permission to attack people through our words when we open our mouths in anger, fear, pride, self righteousness, and dishonoring speech.
We've all done it- as "we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." But we must be honest enough to admit it, repent and learn from it. We are to express and reveal his glory in the earth, and the first place we take dominion is in the governance of our own tongues.
TIPS FOR THE FUTURE AND SCRIPTURES TO STUDY
get to work for God and don't be idle-"Idle hands are the devils workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece." Prov. 16:27
"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else," Galatians 6:4
true humility recognizes that ..."all our righteousness is as filthy rags," and we cannot do anything without God's help and his direction in our lives.
clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because"God opposes the arrogant but to he humble he gives grace." 1 Peter 5:5
"God has made everything beautiful in it's time..." Ecclesiastes 3:11...so wait on God to perfect you and slow down.
"give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." 1 Peter 5:7... worrying can get your anxious, fearful and hateful. Take time this week to throw off worry, as God truly loves you and is positioned to help you when you humble yourself.
practice listening and putting others first in your heart and mind; be intentional to really listen and care about what they are saying when you are in conversation with them
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27
return to being like little children with love for each other. Children don't hold grudges and forgive easily.
talk to people-communication clears up misunderstandings immediately
Love, peace and grace to you all- I'm praying for you,