“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” – James 1:19
It’s likely we’ve all heard this phrase a lot over our lifetime, but it’s rarely something that is put into practice (even amongst Christians).
Admittedly, I’m a pretty bad listener. My wife will tell you that I tend to cut people off in conversation to inject my own thoughts. It takes some real restraint to actively stop and listen to what someone else has to say.
But I must remember this: people want to be known, heard, and valued.
That doesn’t mean that I should simply listen to others. I should also hear what they have to say. And that means hearing points of view that might be wildly different than mine.
What we are seeing today is not a Biblical view of how we should handle our demeanor.
Instead, we see shouting matches from everything ranging from politics to how we raise our kids.
What ends up happening is the opposite of what our intentions are. Everyone shouts their way deeper and deeper into their own convictions and beliefs. Minds and hearts aren’t changed.
How do we win people to Jesus Christ if we’re too busy turning people away during an argument?
As James 1:19 says, we must listen and hear what people have to say, wait to say our own opinions until we’ve heard the other person, and we must refrain from becoming heated in the conversation.
My challenge for you is to not avoid having difficult conversations with people you know you don’t agree with. Listen and hear what they have to say.