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Slow to Speak

James 1:19 (AMP) Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving].

Have you ever experienced a conversation with someone where you were talking but you know they were not giving you their full attention? I’ve had several encounters like this, when the person I’m speaking to is just nodding and saying "uh-huh" but I can tell they aren't listening because they are thinking about what they will say next rather than understanding what I am trying to say. I'm just as guilty of this - we all have so much going on that our minds struggle to pause and listen. We must be intentional when having conversations and actually listen to what someone is saying.

There are many clues we can pick up on when hearing the way something is being said, seeing the facial expressions and body language when the person is explaining a situation. God could very well be sending someone in need directly in our path as we are asking Him to use us for His glory, yet we cannot focus long enough to see the need. Imagine meeting up with an old friend for lunch and you ask about their spouse or children and something seems amiss. This is an opportunity for ministry. Are we looking and listening? Or are we just taking pictures of our food and selfies with an old friend? Relationships are struggling because communication is now sent in the form of emoji's rather than actual face to face conversations, hugs and handshakes.

Be slow to speak - this is key to a great relationship. Especially when feelings of anger are present - you must keep your mouth closed and be silent. Wait for the right things to say and allow yourself to cool off before responding out of a temporary emotion. Be slow to anger - get all of your facts together and ask the right questions before going off like a bomb with a short fuse. Take the time to hear what really happened and avoid accusations. Be forgiving - realize that you have also made many mistakes and now that the sting is on you, you too must forgive the way you wish to be forgiven. Selah.

Colossians 3:13 (TPT) Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them.

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