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Brothers and Sisters,
(James 1:19-20) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
My dad always told me that God gave me two ears and one mouth. That meant I should listen at least twice as much as I talked. Another one of dad’s favorite sayings to me and my two sisters was that children are to be seen and not heard. This is no doubt good advice because the most trouble I’ve ever gotten myself into all started with me opening my big mouth.
Back in the dark ages when I was in elementary school, teachers taught us to not talk out in class. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had to write 100 sentences for talking (I will not talk out in class.) After writing a few thousand sentences you would think that a person would learn wouldn’t you, but here we are this morning looking at these two verses of scripture found in the first chapter of James telling us to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.
It seems as if the more I hear people talking today the angrier they become. You can’t watch the news anymore without hearing people express their anger and if you don’t want to see the anger of some of your friends, I would suggest you stay off of social media.
James also tells us a little further down in chapter 3 that our tongue is the most unruly member of our body. (James 3:5-8) Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Some of the finest Christian people I have ever had the pleasure of being around all had one thing in common. They were “slow to speak”. However, when they did speak, they always had something good to say and it was worthwhile to take the time and listen to them. Their words were filled with wisdom. I wish I could be more like them in my own personal life.
I’ve heard some people say after they had embarrassed themselves by spouting off at the mouth, that this is just the way God made them. I have a hard time believing that. I don’t believe God made us to go around showing our ignorance by talking all the time and acting foolish. We must learn how to engage our brain before opening our mouth.
Here is something else I find in James 3:2, For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. So, if we can learn how to bridle the tongue it will influence the behavior of our whole body. With the Lord’s help let’s all do our best to bridle the tongue because our text verse says that the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.