Two Ears, One Mouth

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”  James 1:19-20

At times, our thoughts can get ahead of us when we are supposed to be listening.  The distraction of our own thinking about what we want to say, about our position, and about what we want others to hear, prevents us from being active listeners.

This passage reminds me of what my parents told when I was growing up and what I sometimes tell my boys, “You’ve got 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.  Listen more, talk less.”

I like how gently this verse starts, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note…”  This is not a commandment.  Instead, this is a subtle warning; a very wise thing to do.  Listen more than you speak and be slow to anger.

Anger is a valid emotion, we all experience it from time to time for different reasons.  Identifying the source of the emotion, and being aware of what we do with it, is what we need to pay attention to.

The anger referenced here is selfish anger.  Anger that spews out when we are wounded by another person, resentful, don’t get our way, or when people do things that we don’t agree with.  This is poisonous anger that might cause us to yell, say mean and hurtful things, and act out inappropriately; rage.

When my rights and expectations get in the way, I can be quick to anger.

Everyone has a longing to be understood.  When we talk more than we listen, we can miss valuable details, overlook the truth, and become angry.  Being more concerned about ourselves and what we have to say is not loving and doesn’t build healthy relationships.

We are called to love one another, that is God’s desire for us.  One of the fruits of the spirit is patience {long-suffering} we might need to practice this character trait more to become a good listener;  s  l  o  w {patient} to speak.

When my pride and ego get in the way, I can be quick to speak and slow to listen.

Seek to understand rather than to be understood.  Seek to comfort rather than to be comforted.  When we listen, we show understanding. we comfort. we love.

In relationships.  In marriage.  At work.  With children.  With strangers.  Are you using your ears and mouth appropriately?  How are you managing the emotion of anger?

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  1. Hello,

    I came across your blog post via Good Morning Girls. LOVED this. This ties into what I meant in my linked up blog post, but I didn’t do as good of a job as you have done here, explaining anger. This is really good. Thank you for posting this. I am glad we are all studying James together.


    • Teri says:

      Thank YOU Carolyn!! I’m sure yours is beautiful – I will stop over and check it out. I am loving James….so powerful especially when we break it down and really dig into its meaning. =)

  2. Heather says:

    Loved youu post!!! The image is halarious! Blessings sistah!

  3. I *love* the “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason” thing! Even more, I love James’ advice to us.

    Visiting from Women in the Word Wednesday.


  4. Bonni says:

    Visiting from Good Morning Girls. I love your blog! Great post. One of my goals for 2011 is to speak less and listen more, so this post was perfect for me!

  5. Angela says:

    Hi Teri!

    I loved what you said about everyone wanting to be understood! Building better relationships does start with being a better listener. I know from personal experience that the more I listen the better I understand the other person’s side of the story. :) Thanks so much for participating in Good Morning Girls link-up this week!

    Love God Greatly!

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