My dearly loved (sisters), understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. ~ James 1:19-20
Are you quick to listen to your daughter? Or, are you quick to give advice, correct, accuse, or lecture? Giving an honest evaluation of your conversations with your daughter, do you listen more or talk more?
Many of us know this verse, even have it memorized, but do we intentionally apply it?
When our girls come to us with hurts, struggles, frustrations, we want to do what moms love to do…make it better. So we give our advice, seize the moment to teach, or out of fear we lecture and accuse. Our heart deeply desires to make the struggle end, correct the course they’re headed and bring relief to a difficult situation. If only they would listen!
But maybe it’s us that need to listen. To hear beyond the words to consider what is really being said ~ to look beyond the words to the heart speaking them. Maybe making it better requires listening and creating a safe space to process without fear of advice, lectures or anger. Maybe the best way we can trust God today is to believe that as we listen more and speak less our words will have more weight because they will be more thoughtfully, prayerfully spoken. As our daughters see us respond in faith that hears, instead of fear that reacts maybe they’ll be more open to sharing what’s hidden beneath the surface. If we listen more and trust God is working, understanding that some struggles are their struggles. As they work through them, just like the caterpillar struggling out of the cocoon, they will become a radiant butterfly. Sometimes making things better isn’t about moms saying the right thing, but daughters learning the right thing. Don’t stifle that by being quick to speak instead of quick to listen.
God knows us so well! When we’re quick to speak, we’re also quick to become angry. “Angry” in this verse isn’t so much about feeling angry as acting angry. God isn’t saying don’t feel angry. When our daughters are working through hurts and frustrations, we feel anger! Whether it’s anger because they’re being hurt by others, or hurting themselves by choices they are making, us moms feel anger. The anger in James 1:20 is translated wrath, vengeance. It’s an anger that reacts and acts out. This, God tells us, will not accomplish God’s righteousness.
Have you ever experienced this? You’re talking with your daughter, you speak too quickly (even the most truth filled wisdom you know) and the defenses go up! She, too, is quick to speak and before you know it, you’re both angry, hurtful things are spoken and you walk away knowing that did not go well!
Our angry actions never produce God’s righteousness. We would be wise to believe God at His Word and not try to defy it. To strengthen our relationship with our daughter we must be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. In doing so, you’re creating a safe place for your daughter to process the struggles and frustrations that come with growing up. You’ll also deepen your faith with God who has her in the palm of His hand and loves her even more than you.
By: Kelly Vance