“Everyone should be slow to speak”


I was out for a walk last week and came across this sign. “No dumping,” I thought to myself, “that is the answer to all the noise and protesting, the yelling and screaming, all connected to the recent campaigns, elections, and results.  Wouldn’t it be great if everyone would simply be quiet?  “No dumping” allowed. What a world it would be!!!

The fact is it would be a world pretty much like it is now.  The answer to people’s discontent, anger and frustrations is not silencing the cries of the people (though a little more time spent in silent deep reflection might help all of us). Take a look at James 1:19 – “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” 

The problem is not that we need to all keep our thoughts, perspectives and ideas to ourselves; the problem is that no one is listening.   I suspect we all need a time to dump, just for our own health and sanity.  Dumping just to dump, just to hurt, to win, and to get my way however, is not helpful or profitable for each of us or community at large. 

What we need is the grace, the discipline, and the heart to listen. This listening should come quick and hang longer than our ranting and dumping. Perhaps our anger is related to “no one listening.” Listening conveys respect, care and love.  Listening paves the way for different words to be shared when the “slow to speak” words come. Listening paves the way for understanding and thoughtful, loving response.

There are many people dumping these days. Perhaps there is a great deal to rant about no matter who you are and what perspectives you are coming from.  Perhaps, though, the answer starts not with being quick to speak and loud to be heard, perhaps listening, really listening is the beginning of a community that really wants to move forward with love.

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