Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger...
I have long read this verse, reread it, meditated on it, prayed over it and sought to make it a part of me. It's so good, so simple, so practical.
And So. Very. Hard.
I don't listen well - I do that think where I try to be quiet long enough for someone to finish (sometimes), all the while planning what I'll say while I'm waiting to make my point. I'm not slow to speak - I'm impulsive, blurting things out. It would seem the my mouth is large enough to accommodate my foot. Slow to anger...are you kidding? I often feel like it's one of my defining characteristics.
So, how?? How do I do these things? I want God to change me, to fix this part of my nature and take it from me. As yet, not so much, but He did show me this:
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger
I've always read this and thought it's a tool of peacemaking and handling conflict. It is that, but I think that more immediately, it's a means of responding to my own conflict and bringing peace to my own soul. When I am mindful of the need to speak a "soft word" every time I open my mouth, I am slower to respond in anger. Likewise, my own harsh words or tones stir up irritability and anger within me.
I'm starting to see the fruit of this - it's amazing. I am beginning to recognize triggers that would often lead to my losing my temper and can pray in the moment that God would give me words that would honor Him. I am more able to think carefully about my words and avoid sarcastic or impatient replies. It's wonderful!
How kind of God to, answer my prayer, to remind me that I need His help to accomplish the task He has given, and to provide that help by showing me how to apply His Word. Beautiful.