"Slow to Speak (If at All) " July 14, 2022
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.
Christian writer and philosophy professor Dallas Willard said, “Whatever you do in anger can be accomplished far better without it.” He was addressing a fallacy we sometimes fall into that says you need “anger energy” to face down a huge challenge or foe. The trouble is that when anger flairs up, other vitally important capacities that can be effective in resolving conflict go “off-line.” What would happen if you chose instead to control your anger?
The next time you find yourself slipping into a confrontation over some political issue, rather than working on preparing your arguments (which we all do while the other person is making their argument), say something like, “You and I are probably not going to agree on this. So how about we try something new? What if we talk instead about our fears and hopes? What would you say are the fears that move you to have your views and positions on this issue? What would you say are your hopes? And I’ll share mine with you. What if you and I have more in common than we realize?” If the other person agrees you have created a way to experience what James teaches. You also have set up the possibility of transforming a foe into a friend.
“Lord, inspire a deep curiosity in me regarding the people I disagree with. Give me eyes to see them the way you see them, and ears to hear what’s in their hearts. Make me an instrument of your peace.”