Devotion: Slow to Speak

James 1:19 “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to
Proverbs 12:18 “Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of
the wise brings healing.”
I was reading about a 4th century minister named Augustine who got
into a heated debate with another minister Jerome. The two of them
would communicate frequently about God and the Bible, telling the
other that they were going to hell. The debates where very serious,
personal, and angry at times. Yet the conversations transpired solely
by letters. In fact there was one point in their conversation that it
took 9 years for Augustine's letter to arrive in Jerome's hands.
Imagine having to wait nine years to hear back on some issue that you
think is essential to life. Nowadays we get irritated if our
voicemails are not returned in 3 hours, if an email goes unanswered by
a day, or if a text is not replied to immediately.

Something within our culture and within ourselves demands that
problems and frustrations have to be acted on immediately. While
working with young couples, I often remind them that communication is
one of the major issues in relationships. Learning when to speak and
especially when not to is vital for all relationships.

It is interesting that in Biblical times, when it took years for
communication to be passed along, that Scripture routinely warns us
about our tongue. The tongue and language are two central themes to
Proverbs and the Letter of James. Also, one of the most beautiful
descriptions of God is that he is “slow to anger, and abounding in

Why is it so hard to be slow to speak and quick to listen? What would
happen if rather than sending off that heated email, you stopped to
pray for the other person first? How many hours or days do you think
you could go without email communication? Why has this form of
communication become the primary mode of communication in our culture?

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