Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17

Quick to Listen

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, and slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Imagine the conflicts that would be avoided if only we all followed these directions. When we are quick to listen, we hear the heart, hope and experience of the one before us, and it provides an opportunity to understand where another is coming from. Additionally, if we pause, listen and process before we respond, we are far more likely to speak out of love and not become frustrated or angry. Our charge is to be patient and not allow anger to fly out of control. God is faithful to provide the strength and self-control necessary to listen first and respond well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen intently and be slow to speak, so that anger is kept in check and our words and deeds are led by His love.

Help us to listen,

So we truly hear;

The heart of others,

All those who are near.

Show us to slow down,

To be slow to speak;

So ev’ry response,

Is kind and in peace.

Lord, help our anger,

Be under control;

So love is what leads,

And grace is our goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You listen to us with love every time we speak. Thank You that You respond to us in love and do not easily anger. Forgive us for the times that we have not slowed down enough to truly hear those around us, or have listened only to respond, rather than to truly hear. Please check our hearts when anger rises so that we would slow down and place all in Your hands to lead us. Show us how to listen in love well so that those around us may see Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to listen well and do all things in love and with self-control. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. – Psalm 17:6

Patient and Full of Love

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. – (Psalm 103:8, HCSB)

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV)

The Eternal is compassionate and merciful. When we cross all the lines, He is patient with us. When we struggle against Him, He lovingly stays with us – changing, convicting, prodding. – (Psalm 103:8, VOICE)

In the same way that the Lord is compassionate, gracious, patient and full of faithful love for us, we ought to be the same for others. God shows us the way to love one another as He loves each of us so well. Even when we fall short or fail miserably, He remains present to show us how to do and be better. His kindness leads us to repentance and real change. May we ever seek the Lord to show us the ways we are meant to go, and lead us to love one another as He loves us all.

Full of compassion,

And gracious His love;

Abundant mercy,

Hope from God above.

In our own struggle,

Still the Lord stays near;

To grant us His strength,

And take away fear.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Faithful forever,

Your grace makes us new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and gracious, patient and rich in faithful love. Thank You that You lead, correct and direct us in the ways we are meant to go when we seek and submit to You. Forgive us for our shortcomings and our lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You completely. Lead us in Your compassionate and gracious love so that we might love those around us with patience and faithful love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and love us through all things. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

This God, our God forever and ever – He will always lead us. – Psalm 48:14

Listen in Love

`My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

Can you imagine if we all actually followed this charge? Misunderstandings would be quickly cleared up, and kindness would reign. When we choose to truly listen to understand rather than to respond, and take our time to respond carefully in love, anger dissipates. A heart that is quick to willingly listen in love has the opportunity to slow down and think before speaking.  As we do this, anger does not flair up but rather only rises in spaces that are calling for our attention to change or remove. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen intentionally and to respond slowly with His wisdom.

Brothers and sisters,

Let’s all do our part;

To listen in love,

And speak from the heart.

Be slow to anger,

Choose listen, be wise;

Allow the Lord’s love,

Let kindness arise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first and be slow to speak. I imagine that is part of the reason that we have two ears and only one mouth. Thank You that You grant us the patience, wisdom and love to listen first and speak next after truly hearing one another. Forgive us for the times that we have given rise to anger and have spoken without listening.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

God, hear my prayer; listen to the words of my mouth. – Psalm 54:2

Undeserved Kindness

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – (Psalm 103:8, NIV)

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV)

Lord, You’re so kind and tenderhearted and so patient with people who fail You! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 103:8, TPT)

The more we are aware of the goodness of God, the more readily we are able to extend the same to those around us. Though we don’t deserve it, the Lord extends kindness, patience and love to us. He forgives our faults and failures, picks us up, dusts us off, and equips us to keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. The kindness and compassion that we have experienced becomes the very thing that flows out of us when we recognize all that we have been given. May we take time to count our blessings and observe the goodness of God in our lives, and seek Him to extend the same to all those around us.

With kindness and grace,

The Lord’s full of love;

Freely He gives us,

Through goodness above.

Though we can’t earn it,

With mercy, He gives;

Love overflowing,

Each day that we live.

It is by His grace,

That we do the same;

Equipped well to love,

Let’s honor His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You pour out Your kindness, goodness and grace, and that You are patient with our shortcomings. Thank You that You call us to do the same with those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love well. Teach us to trust and depend on You, so that we give the goodness and grace to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your overwhelming goodness and give from the overflow of all that You have given. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – Titus 3:4-5a

Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Let Us Listen First

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends; Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

This requires an ongoing decision to be intentional to listen, and truly seek to understand. If we merely listen to respond rather than comprehend what is being spoken, anger has room to rise up, instead of compassion and kindness. Yes, there are times that what is being spoken is not beneficial for anyone. Even then, how we respond makes all the difference. Righteous anger allows us to appropriately respond in love and in truth. The ego, on the other hand, causes responses that only further fan the flames. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen well, so that when we choose to speak, our words are full of life and love and grace.

Lord, help us to seek,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To listen and learn;

Use our ears and heart,

For gracious return.

Let not our voices,

Respond without thought;

Help us understand,

And love as we ought.

For if truth be told,

Wisdom can be found;

In hearts that listen,

As Your grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to lead with listening to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without truly hearing, or allowed anger to rise and taint our words or actions. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to listen to understand, speak in love, and allow anger to help us bring change through Your goodness and grace. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You to grow us more like You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

Great Love

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV)

We are still alive because the Lord’s faithful love never ends. Every morning He shows it in new ways! You are so very true and loyal! – (Lamentations 3:22-23, ERV)

How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but the thought of potentially having more time in lockdown is gut-wrenching. For me personally, it only would affect what I am able to get out and do. However, my heart is with the countless employees and owners of small businesses, who may be on the verge of financial devastation. Young people trying to pay for tuition, small business owners attempting to uphold their livelihood, and countless employees who sit on the edge of not knowing whether or not they will still be gainfully employed in the near future if their particular establishment is deemed “non-essential”. I know that God is the God of compassion, and His mercies never fail. My hope and prayer is that He shows His compassion, mercy and love in amazing new ways each day, as this whole COVID situation has grown exhausting. 

Lord, let your kindness,

Compassion be shown;

Please grant us Your peace,

As our faith is grown.

Show us Your mercy,

For each day, it’s new;

In wisdom, guide us,

Teach us what to do.

Let each new morning,

Proclaim unto us;

Thy great faithfulness,

And hope in Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and kind, full of unending grace. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when we cannot see past our current circumstances. Teach us to trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage hope and comfort fears. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your love and compassion that is new every morning. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

Called to Better

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – (Psalm 103:8, NIV) 

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV) 

Lord, You’re so kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and so patient with people who fail You! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 103:8, TPT)

God’s compassion, grace, kindness and mercy are exactly what the world needs right now. With all of the recent human ugliness, “…a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness”, is exactly the sort of love and patience we need to have with one another. We are a broken people, full of fault and failure, desperately in need of God’s mercy and love. God is all of these things and more, yet we have the choice to either receive from Him and pass it on, or stay stuck in our broken state of being. As we accept what the Lord freely gives, we are driven to do better; be better. May we ever pursue the Lord and His goodness, so that we may extend the same to all with whom we interact. 

Kindness, compassion, 

Patience and great love; 

All from the Father, 

Our Lord up above. 

All these are granted, 

Though we don’t deserve; 

May it compel us, 

To listen and serve. 

For as we receive, 

We’re equipped to give; 

Love as intended, 

Grace and peace to live. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that as we seek You and receive from You, You equip us to go forth and love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked compassion or grace, and allowed anger to get in the way of love. Show us how to love like You – with compassion, grace, patience, and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us how to be and do better, each day that we draw breath. Amen. 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

He has caused wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – Psalm 111:4