So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. NKJVGenerally it seems like people look at verse 19 and remember it in general terms. “It is good to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath in general.”
We think of them as interrelated yes, but still individual pieces of advice, as independent virtues; and it is true that individually they are Biblical and “generally” sound pieces of advice. However, verse 19, in the New King James Version at least, ends with a semicolon and is followed by verse 20, beginning with the words, “for the. . .”
In other words, 'you should follow what verse 19 says because of what verse 20 says'.
The instructions of verse 19 build off of each other for one; being “swift to hear” encourages one to be “slow to speak”, and both keep one steady so as to be “slow to wrath”.
Being swift to hear means that you wait to form opinions until after having heard what others have said. You do not make a decision to quickly about a situation. You do not decide what to say about a situation. You wait and reduce the possibility of there being any miss-communication about what has happened or the things that someone has done. In many cases, being swift to hear can remove the very reason a person has for being wrathful because it reveals to them a deeper side to the problem.
Being slow to speak means that we consider our words and carefully consider what has happened and what the appropriate response for us to give might be, even if that means saying nothing at all. If nothing else it provides a delay that allows our initial reaction to cool and be considered.
Attempting to be slow to wrath is helped by being swift to hear and slow to speak, which also keeps us from producing wrath in others. However, being slow to wrath is a choice all it's own. It is a conscious choice to control oneself and to have control over one's emotions.
I will pray to God for strength and peace of mind and self control that I might be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath and filled with the patience and love that is in my Father in Heaven.
The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Neither in ourselves nor through the revealing of God's work in our lives. I want to seek after His righteousness.
that He brings
what He wants
for the reasons
He wants it.