James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.
I found it rather interesting that "quick to listen and slow to speak" was in the same sentence as "slow to get angry." I think we all half listen a big part of the time these days. We have cell phones that go off... text messages that interrupt. TV's on in more than one room. Facebook to entice us and make us think people in the computer are listening better than people in the room. I think that maybe the draw to Facebook is that we can finish a complete thought without being interrupted.
We even have TV in most of the places that we go out to eat at these days. When I was growing up, part of the pleasure of eating out was that somebody was sitting face to face with you giving you their undivided attention. Now their attention is completely divided among all the distractions!
Robby and I were eating out just Saturday at Red Lobster (no TV). We got seated just after a large group of people. The waiter was apologizing because the food was taking a while. I smiled and said "It's fine, we like each other!" He laughed and said "Oh, I can tell, you are talking to each other instead of testing!" We all laughed. So often thought, even with us enjoying each other's company and companionship we are half hearing each other. So often these days we are not even watching TV together, we are in the same room... with the TV on... him on is computer and me on mine. And we do like each other!!
I spend a lot of time at home all by myself these days... I really need to use my words... I am really bad to jump in on Robby's conversation before he gets to the end.... I am hardly ever angry at Robby...maybe once or twice a year do I get what I would call angry at Robby, and then it is often "my mood" that causes it. But I am doing something apparently as bad as being angry I am not being slow to speak and quick to listen.
The more I know God the more I see these instructions as bits of gold that will make my life better... so much better... if I use these wonderful nuggets of information several things will happen. God will smile down on me, I will make God happy, I will improve my relationships with the people around me, my peace and joy will increase... my anxiety will go away...I will love others more...and they will love me more.
God is not pointing His finger in our face and saying you MUST do THIS! God is holding our face in His gentle, strong hands and saying "My child, I love you so much!! I want to make your life better and better and better!! Here is one thing (then another and another and another) that will bring you joy and peace and happiness. Just try it!" Aren't we special that God would tell us how to make our lives better. We are special to God.