Seek to Understand Others

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  James 1:19-20 (NIV)

Think of past conversations where you felt strongly about an issue.  During those times, you probably weren’t really listening to the other person.  You were impatiently waiting for them to finish their sentence so you could speak and share your thoughts.  The verse above tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak.  The phrase be quick to listen implies that you are listening and processing what the other person is saying.  You are trying to understand things from their perspective.  This is especially important when discussing issues related to race.  When having a conversation with someone from another race, try to understand things from their perspective.  That doesn’t mean that you will always agree with them, but it will help you to better understand their experiences and viewpoint.

Finally, the verse instructs us to be slow to anger.  When having conversations with someone from another race, make the decision in advance that you will refuse to be offended (be slow to anger).  Your objective is to gain a better understanding and model Christ to others, whether you agree or disagree with their statements.  So, how can you be quick to listen this week?