"The Lord God has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned,"
Isaiah 50:4 (NKJV)
"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."
James 1:19 (NLT)
How many times have we all said something before we knew what was really going on? How many times have we been frustrated with others who were quick to give their opinions about what we should do in a given situation even when we did not ask for their opinion? God warns us in His Word to first listen before we speak. I tell clients to pray before they speak and ask God, "Is what I am about to say going to add fuel or water to this fire?" If we would seek God, listen to His promptings, and only say what He tells us to say when He tells us to say it, many of those "fires" would not even be lit to begin with.
I encourage you to listen to three different sources before you speak:
1. God - He is the only One who knows everything. He knows what is going on and why. He knows if you will help or hinder progress in any given situation. You may have great insight to a situation, but the other person may not be ready to hear. In that case, God can guide you into how to pray.
2. The other person - Before speaking into someone else's life or situation, it is important to listen to him/her. Your goal in listening to the other person is to understand where he/she is coming from and how he/she feels. So much forward progress can be made in a relationship when the listener validates the other person without judging him/her or without being defensive.
3. Yourself - Deep introspection is a great way to find out what your true heart motive is when you want to speak into a situation. Do you want to speak because of sincere concern for the other person, or do you want to speak for your own gain? This goes back to listening to God because He is the only One who knows your true heart motive. A great prayer you can pray along these lines is found in Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV):
"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."
How refreshed we will be when we follow these guidelines and learn how to listen first before speaking! We may find out that we will be talking less. If so, we will also realize that fewer words will be more effective than many words previously spoken without listening. Give us ears to hear, Lord Jesus!
With over thirty years of experience as an educator, minister, and licensed professional counselor, Tammy Melton, LPC holds ministerial credentials with Harvest Network International and is the founder of Legacy Ministries for Christ, Incorporated and Legacy Freedom, LLC. Tammy desires to see people set free with tools of inner healing and relational unity. Tammy and Bill, her husband of 36 years, live in Fayetteville, GA and have two adult daughters.