Three things to remember: Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
James, half brother of Jesus, writes this in his one and only biblically preserved letter. A short couple of paragraphs later, he says something like this: Don’t just hear it; DO IT.
Why is it so hard to get good stuff from the brain to the will? Or from the page to the pavement? Or from the head to the heart?
Yesterday, I was asked about my kids. My children live far away, both east and west coasts. They rarely call. In fact, it has been weeks since I heard the voices of two of my children. They are in their twenties and busy. But too busy to call mom? So when asked how they are doing I had to admit I didn’t know. I have contacted them. I write letters both the old-fashioned kind and email. I text, facebook message, and leave voicemail. But I don’t hear from them as often as I would like. When my heart is breaking about this, I am strongly tempted to write angry notes to these children about how I feel. Yesterday was a day like that.
But I had just READ James 1. Slow to anger. So after picking up the phone, finger poised to punch out a sarcastic text, I remembered………. “slow to anger.”……. and put the phone down. Deliberate attention to what I had read in the morning got me to actually restrain myself. Wow. That’s different.
Funny thing happened later in the afternoon. I received a nice email from the very child I had been ready to text. I smiled. Thanks, God. Nice positive reinforcement.