James 1:19-20 ” Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

Say someone you’re close to is going through a major health crisis…so as a good person off you go to their house.  But soon this visit becomes very awkward, for the more you talk and ask questions, the more  frustrated and angry the person becomes.  Abruptly the visit ends with you walking out wondering why you  feel discouraged and angry when all you wanted to do was to encourage and comfort that person.  Aristotle referred to anger as desire with grief.  And this verse in James  should be a guide as we deal with those going through critical times.  Listening should be the only goal we have…not preaching…not pumping the person for details…nor personalizing the visit with every awful  thing we’ve gone through.  Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, sin is not absent.”  I remember hearing a story about Mother Teresa,  that when she visited the dying she rarely spoke…instead she just held them, stroking their face, and listening.  When your only agenda is to listen…you are validating that person and giving consideration to what they’re going through without bias or opinion.  They are then free to explore and verbalize their internal dialogue as they work through their emotions.  Just listening can then become the greatest gift you can give that person.

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