... I wish hard lessons were easier to learn.

// James 1:19 NLT // Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. //

God has been (re)teaching me these truths in the last twenty-four hours.

Being slow to speak has never been an easy one for me.  I dislike seeing anyone go through hard times and I just want to get in there and FIX it.  But... I have learned that helpful words do not always help.  More often, just listening is what helps the most.

I learned this a long time ago, but today, I obviously needed to be reminded of it.

I always joke with God that I am relatively unobservant to the things He is trying to teach me, and so he should know that if He wants something to sink in He has to make it reallyreallysuperextra obvious!

One should never joke with God...

I had two completely separate, but almost identical situations yesterday and today.  In one I was hasty to give "advice" without really understanding the other person's problem.  In the other, someone made a point of giving me their two cents without taking the time to understand to my situation.

In both situations, the "helpful" opinion was given to be just that, helpful.  The advice came out of a place of concern for the other person's situation.

I realized right away that I'd goofed and I made a "Sorry for the speech!" statement, but it wasn't until I found myself getting frustrated at the person who gave me their thoughts so hastily that I understood again just how hurtful helpful-but-not-helpful words can be.

In both situations, there was one person who was a little too slow to listen and a little too quick to speak.  And, in my situation at least, there was someone who was finding it a little too easy to be quick to anger (in my head only, which I'm grateful for now).

Before I wrote this, I sent an apology to the young man to whom I was so quick to give advice.  He was very gracious and I am blessed to have such maturity in my little group of youth.

Since I'm the one who learned the lesson, I don't really expect to receive an apology in the other situation.  It doesn't lessen the hurt yet, but it's good to have perspective and the reminder that it is my responsibility to be the gracious one. After all, I know how easy it is to think that my "helpful" opinion just HAS to be given.

Something to think about, my lovelies.

Remember today to be QUICK to listen, SLOW to speak, and SLOW to get angry.

And maybe, if necessary, QUICK to apologize.

God bless.

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