Plato once said:
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”
And another has said:
“Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”
Which was no doubt derived from one of the wisest of the wise, writing in Scripture:
“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” – Proverbs 27:28
Which brings us to a related text:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – James 1:19,20
In a previous post, we disucssed Peter’s lil’ Foot-in-Mouth problem, and I also conceded my own problem with that dreaded foe. Isn’t it amazing how the same subject is addressed all throughout Scripture? I mean, it’s almost like all the books of the Bible have the same Author (hint, hint, ). This same observation lets us know that diarrhea of the mouth is no small problem.
I think, though, we can deduce more than just foot-in-mouth issues with what James is addressing here. A cursory glance at the text tells us something about how presumption and impatience leads to unfounded anger. An immediate example which comes to mind can be derived from just perusing an internet message board…even a “Christian” one (gasp!). The misunderstandings that can ensue are boundless sometimes, it seems.
The instructions given by James need to be applied in most of our dealings, but especially are dealings with fellow believers. May we keep these words of James in mind while conversating, communicating, and discussing with those around us. I’ll leave you with a quote from another great Puritan, Richard Sibbes:
It would be a good contest amongst Christians, one to labour to give no offence, and the other to labour to take none. The best men are severe to themselves, tender over others.