Slow Your Roll

“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

When was the last time you slowed down and actually listened to the person you were talking to? When was the last time you thought about your words before just blurting them out? When was the last time you forgave someone instead of snapping at them?

When someone gets on our nerves our first reaction is to bubble over with anger, especially if they are not seeing things our way. This then causes them to become angry and suddenly the initial problem is lost behind the hurtful remarks stemmed from rage. Everyone feels anger; the difference is how you deal with it.

I read a quote that said, “the same boiling water that hardens the egg, softens the potato”. Now, how silly would it sound if the egg got mad at the potato for reacting differently? It sounds ridiculous, but that’s exactly the kind of thing most of us do on a daily basis. Someone has a different opinion than us or doesn’t want to do what we want to do and, boom, suddenly we’re opponents in a fight. Anger is like a snowball rolling down a hill. The more you let it build up inside of you, the larger and faster it gets until it crashes into something at the bottom.

So how do we stop it? Simply put, slow your roll.

“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

Keep in mind there’s a difference between an argument/fight and a debate. A debate becomes an argument when the words you choose are specifically crafted to hurt the other person and/or you no longer have logical control over what you are saying. Statistics say that an average of 60-75% percent of things said in a single argument are later regretted.

If you start to feel yourself getting heated and out of control with anger and you happen to catch it in the moment, it’s important to slow down. 1. If we slow our own thoughts we’re more likely to hear, not only what the other person has to say, but what Jesus has to say. 2. Most of the time, if we actually let the other person get their point across we’ll (not necessarily agree with them) understand their view and agree to respecfully disagree. 

It’s also important to remember that yelling at someone is almost never the best way to persuade them to side with you. If anything, it pushes them away. But if you show them the respect and love that Jesus would and listen to them, you will be rewarded and you’ll probably learn a thing or two about the people in your life.

On the flip side, if you let the anger consume you in the moment, (let’s be honest here, it happens) then pray that the other person hasn’t hardened their heart towards you and apologize. “I’m sorry” are two of the most overlooked words in the English language, often because they aren’t said with sincerity and aren’t said enough. After an argument a feeling hits where it seems too late to apologize, but it’s never too late. Show them some love and be sincere and most importantly let the Lord guide you.