Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Be Slow to Speak

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Chuckle: "Blessed are they who have nothing to say and cannot be persuaded to say it." --James Russell Lowell
Quote: The ancient philosopher Zeno once said, "We have two ears and one mouth, therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak."

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:19-20 NIV).
When James tells us to be slow to speak, he's not saying we should all adopt that slow Texas Drawl. No, but he is telling us not to speak until we have absorbed and understand all the facts about a person or a subject and have something helpful to say. I think he is also saying that when we talk more than we listen, we send a message to others that we think our ideas are much more relevant and important than theirs. Thus the other person feels put down and unimportant.
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and thought, "I wish they would hush so I can talk?" Sometimes we are thinking ahead to what we want to say and are not really listening to the other person. Some won't even let you finish speaking -- they finish your sentences for you. It might be healthy for each of us to evaluate ourselves on how much we talk and how much we listen.
When we are talking rather than listening, we are not learning. Rather, we are only articulating what we think we have already learned. You have probably heard the words, "shut up and listen." These harsh words convey an important truth -- we must stop talking if we are to really listen. And when we listen, it's amazing how our attitudes can change and our understanding can be enhanced. If we are truly interested in hearing points of view other than our own, we will shut up and listen. "He who answers before listening -- that is his folly and his shame" (Proverbs 18:13 NIV).
"Some people are too talkative. They are like the young man who supposedly went to the great Greek philosopher, Socrates, to learn oratory. On being introduced, he talked so incessantly that Socrates asked for double fees. 'Why charge me double?' asked the young fellow. 'Because,' said the orator, 'I must teach you two sciences: the one is how to hold your tongue, and the other is how to speak.'"
"The King is pleased with righteous lips; he loves those who speak honestly. From a wise mind comes wise speech. My child, how will I rejoice if you become wise. Yes, my heart will thrill when you speak what is right and just" (Proverbs 16:13, 23; 23:15-16 NLT)
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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