Quick, Slow, Slow

Quick, slow, slow doesn’t refer to the rhythm of a dance step. It’s a few of the words James wrote in his letter in the section I studied this week

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.  James 1:19-26 ESV

Before James wrote the hard words he used a favorite one. Beloved. He wanted the church to remember they were loved brothers and sisters in Christ. I needed the reminder today as much as they did then. 

James said a lot about our ears and mouths. He urged his readers to listen more than they speak and be slow to anger. He told them to hear the word, then do the word and even compared a non-doer to someone who forgets what they look like right after they look in the mirror. The harshest words in the passage were saved for those who refused to control their mouths. They said what they wanted, when they wanted and James let them know their religion meant nothing. 

Our ears and mouths are powerful in different ways. We listen to receive information, learn, and understand. The better and more we listen, the more we learn. Our mouths, though, give out words. Advice. Compliments. Encouragement. Wisdom. Truth. Life.

Unfortunately, our words can harm. Especially when we’re angry. 

James was on to something. When we listen a lot, we’ll use fewer words, and not be angered so easily. Quick, slow, slow. Listening is an act of love. And while we’re listening, let’s listen to the Word because we can’t be doers if we aren’t hearers first. 

Then there’s the whole unbridled tongue issue. The three imperatives at the beginning of the passage will take care of that. Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.  

I’m still learning what James told his readers ages ago. I’m better, but not where I need to be. My listening skills need to improve and I still use more words than necessary sometimes. I don’t want to be like the forgetful man in the mirror. 

I’ll keep practicing. Quick, slow. slow. Quick, slow, slow. 

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

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  1. Mabel Rudo Nyazika on December 11, 2018 at 4:14 am

    Thank you Marie, indeed James has a lot to teach us. Like I made reference in my comment in another post we studied James as a congregation last year and I took some ifbtge advice like you I still need to improve the listening . I am happy I am improving on the anger bit hopefully I will get to a place when I am not quick to be angry.
    Thank you.

    • marieg on December 11, 2018 at 5:51 am

      How wonderful we have a Father who is patient and abounding in love toward His children. I’m learning with you. Thank you Mabel.

  2. Lim Soo Peng on December 11, 2018 at 11:21 pm


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