Listen, Listen, Listen!

Western Theological Seminary Students

READ : James 1:19-25

When I was growing up my mother continually reminded my brothers and me that if we had nothing good to say we should not say anything at all. With four boys in our house this was much needed advice for keeping peace in our family.

My mother’s advice was both simple and profound at one and the same time. Her words echo the book of James, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19, niv).

Both James and my mother zero in on sound advice for all who seek to follow God. In our listening, not just in our speaking, we bring the truth and grace of God to those around us. Listening is to be our primary objective when we interact with others. Our eyes must be fixed, our ears attentive, and our hearts responsive to the words of others. Only after listening can we respond appropriately.

Deliberate slowness to speak is advised not only because of insufficient information. The quality of our communications in relationships depends upon how well we are able to hold our tongues until we know we have something vital to say.

– Chris DeGraaf


Dear God, help me to listen intently and, consequently, speak with grace and insight.