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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, July 6

Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness.
—James 1:19b-20

It’s easy to spot those individuals who have an opinion on just about every topic (politics, international crises, sports, the stock market). They are noticeable the minute you walk in a room. At gatherings, they are usually standing right beside the person you would most like to see.

So, you think to yourself, should I join my friend and wait patiently
until the "Social Star"decides to take an intermission? Or, should I just find a safe place by the hors d'oeuvres table and find my friend later, when I have a greater likelihood of a positive social experience? This process of elimination is common in every culture; human beings don't like to be annoyed by people who are full of themselves.

Sometimes we're as boisterous as that loud " Social Star." We are too ready to broadcast loudly what we perceive to be our profound sense of knowledge before we really have enough information. God points us in a different direction—where we listen and learn before we speak.

When we silently challenge our own opinion and reflect seriously on the informed opinions of others, we can engage in dialogues that have value, conversations that are focused on sharing thoughts, rather than loudly and foolishly speaking about what we do not know.

If instead of trying to show off our knowledge, we are “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” we will find that we, too, are noticeable in the crowd. We will be noticed, however, for our wisdom and not for our arrogance.

Gracious God, give me the wisdom to know when to speak and not to speak, and the power to speak freely for righteousness sake.