From Brother James, half-brother of Jesus Christ to us all!
von Pastor Prince Ossai Okeke (Coordinator- Communication Platform between the Nordkirche and the International Churches)
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, James 1 vs. 19.
The writer of the book of James was James the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who probably while growing up as a young man couldn´t swiftly hear all Jesus Christ his half-brother was saying, especially the claim to be God´s son? Knowing too well that they shared the same mother, ate from the same dishes, played together and learnt together. It couldn´t have been easy for him to hear swiftly all that many of Jesus followers said about Jesus.
Hearing is not easy. And to hear swiftly which could mean to quickly have an open ear to God and to other people remains indeed a challenging factor in our present time. Some of the challenging factors could be lack of time, too many distractions and the hyperactive lifestyle that we are faced with today.
Oh, how difficult it is to listen to others, and how challenging it becomes when you are the speaking type. The fact is that hearing, or listening is not easy. Hearing means that you humble yourself to keep quite in order to listen. Hearing also means to actively surrender to give others the opportunity to express themselves fully. Hearing means that you are dedicated to understand the person speaking to you! Let every man be swift to hear.
And then brother James continued with even more difficult one, “slow to speak”
How many times have we said things that we wished we had chosen to be slow to speak? How many times have we allowed our mouth to run faster than our brain? And then we try to eradicate the mess that we said with our mouth with I am sorry, not knowing that I am sorry sometimes is not a good eraser.
Now, our society has become communicatively demanding that we are rather slow to hearing and swift in speaking. Yet, James preference order was quick to hearing and slow to speak. The verse did not prohibit speaking but it suggests a model, which is that we should listen fully to others to understand them before we speak. This will help us and others to be “slow to wrath”. In the ecumenical relationships between churches, these three requests from brother James the half-brother of Jesus Christ are very vital in sustaining and progressing a cordial togetherness as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. If we can be swift to hear others, slow to speak to others than we will be slow to wrath with others. May God help us to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath, Amen.