This time of year can be the best time to ride; with one exception: Bugs. Open your mouth at the wrong time and something buzzy will find its way in. So, this time of year is a good time to practice breathing through your nose. Eat a few bugs (or the wrong one just once) and you may want to try breathing through your ears.

In any case, God has used this word picture to remind me:

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

This is a difficult task for most of us (even without bugs flying around). When I have something to say, I want to say it. There’s no telling how many times I’ve missed something important while I was thinking about what I wanted to say, and how I was going to squeeze it in.

Fortunately, I have had a few mentors that have encouraged and modeled this passage for me. I have learned that the voice I was missing was not just the human speaking, but the voice of my Father in heaven trying to teach me something. As I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut, I’ve been blessed to enjoy the conversation much more than I did when I was trying so hard to speak.

Now that I think about it, I am sure this is why I have heard Him speak in practically every meeting for the last 5+ years. He speaks when we are prepared to listen. His word is alive and powerful; and it feeds our faith. Being swift to hear is the humility God rewards.

Furthermore, there is something about being a hearer and not a speaker that reduces my propensity for wrath. When I hear swiftly to the person, I am less likely to miss their intention, and their heart in the matter. I am able to hear the Father’s voice as He guides my heart for the response (if there is to be one).

So, the next time you are about to have a potentially difficult conversation, remember my bug in the mouth lesson. Believe me, they taste worse than your foot.

Humbly yours and forever His,