by Rick Warren — June 5, 2017
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19b NIV).
The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19b NIV).
Yet, usually we do just the opposite. We’re quick to speak, slow to listen, and swift to become angry. That’s backward! But if you do the first two — be slow to speak and quick to listen — the last part will be automatic. You’ll find yourself becoming angry less often and less naturally.
There’s an important rhythm to this idea, which the Bible reiterates over and over again. For example:
- Proverbs 14:29: “Patient people have great understanding, but people with quick tempers show their foolishness” (NCV).
- Proverbs 15:28: “Good people think before they answer. Evil people have a quick reply, but it causes trouble” (GNT).
- Proverbs 15:18: “Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments” (CEV).
How do you slow down and think before rushing to anger? Consider these five questions before speaking when you’re angry.
- T:Is it truthful? Is what I’m about to say the truth?
- H:Is it helpful? Or will it simply harm the other person?
- I:Is it inspirational? Does it build up, or does it tear down?
- N:Is it necessary? If it’s not necessary, why do I need to say it?
- K:Is it kind? Will it encourage or discourage?
It’s not enough just to slow down when we’re angry. Take extra time to THINK about what to say or do next.