Never mind quick to listen!
I’ve always struggled with knowing when to share my opinion and when to listen more.
Overall, being quick to listen and slow to speak seems to be more difficult for some than others. An introvert like my wife enjoys being contemplative, listening to all the details before giving an opinion. An extrovert like myself, has to seriously focus on holding on to opinions and listening to others first.
Regardless of personality traits, a conversation can quickly turn into an argument, unless we give everyone their fair share of the discussion. An introvert may shut-down or the extrovert may lash-out; but anger is not specific to any personality.
We all stop listening and get angry at some point.
James gives us so much wisdom into this topic. It’s one thing to be “be quick to listen, slow to speak“ (Jas. 1:19) But it doesn’t end there. The second part of this Scripture makes the thought complete:
“…and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (Jas. 1:20)
Let’s face it, there will often be at least one of the following two people in every group discussion. Instead of listening to others, they will…
- …aggressively ignore everyone else, pushing their opinions and ideas.
- …passive-aggressively ignore everyone else, seemingly agreeing yet doing their own thing.
Both are equally frustrating, but we can’t let anger be the solution.
I’m definitely not saying that we should do nothing and enable these behaviours. However, as soon as anger sets in, the problem perpetuates. There’s a fine-line that we need to focus on.
If you have the time, I suggest reading though James 1. Concentrate some prayer on the conversations you’ve been having lately. Have you been giving too many opinions or blocking others out? Has anger been easily stirring inside of you?
Perhaps, set some goals on how you can improve these discussions. Place a date beside each goal, to seek out an opportunity to slow yourself to anger and humbly act on them.
You might just make it through the conversation!
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
What types of people or personalities cause you the most frustration? How do you keep from getting angry during conversations with them?