19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
The fight breaks out, people are yelling, and words are spoken that simply cannot be taken back! It’s scene that is found in countless households every day. It doesn’t matter your age or relationship; anger has a way of rising to a boiling point and then exploding out. According to James, human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. That almost feels like an understatement. Human anger drives us downward into behaviors that end with lots of hurt and regret and can even give rise to more challenging feelings such as revenge.
So what’s the alternative to always blowing up? Listening. Listening in the heat of the moment. Be quick to listen and slow to speak, and perhaps even slower to anger. Anger emerges in us usually because we have been wronged or hurt. But often there is more to it than what we see. Listening gives us the opportunity to gather all perspectives and to truly hear from others involved. Listening help us process through our emotions using God-given logic and reasoning rather than acting solely on emotion and instinct.
But when the anger flares, it takes some intentionality to cool the flames and engage your ears. By using various techniques such as breathing, counting etc. we can find a way to cool our jets and engage our ears. Take some time this week, when you feel frustrated, confused, and especially angry to engage your ears in the fine art of listening and see how what you hear might change how you feel.