“…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”
The internet is not very conducive to obeying this command. When something goes viral it can be very tempting to be one of the voices in the crowd. If something is trending on Twitter all I have to do is write an article and put a # sign in there and immediately my blog will get an upswing in traffic.
Furthermore, there is a constant stream of vast amounts of material—most of it needing rebuked. Some things actually need a response. Most things only make us think that they need a response.
In the midst of all the noise God says to the Christian blogger, “let every [blogger] be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow and anger…”
Quick to Hear
To be “quick to hear” means to rapidly pursue listening. It means chewing on what another person has said. True hearing requires understanding—or at least an attempt to truly understand. If I cannot fairly represent what was just said then I have not truly listened to you.
Think about how this relates to the ridiculousness of many comment streams. A good host of the comments are taken up by those that did not truly hear the piece that was written. Then people respond (without truly hearing) to the dude that just commented after failing to hear the original piece.
My how the Christian slice of the internet would change if we lived out our redemption in this area!
Slow to Speak*
Most of us assume understanding. That’s why we start nodding our heads in agreement (or shaking our fists in disagreement) when the speaker is only a few words into his speech. Once we start nodding (or seething) we start formulating our own response. The internet is no different. We read a title, factor in the author, read a couple of lines and then assume that we know his/her argument.
To truly be slow to speak means that even though everything within us is crying out “Write a response to this dummy”, we intentionally slow ourselves down. Go ahead and type out of a rough draft. Get it all out. Throw it all up on your paper.
Then throw it away.
After you rewrite the article let it sit there for awhile. And as it sits there ask yourself with it really needs to be said. Can it wait a day? Can it wait a week? The more it sits the more you are able to choose your words more intentionally.
Slow to Anger
This fits with being slow to speak. Anger makes us want to give a quick response. It’s always a good idea to let a response post sit for time. You don’t have to give a quick response. Angry responses are usually quick responses. Save your anger for that which truly should evoke anger and not those sinful outbursts that we like to excuse as “righteous indignation”.
Listen, I understand the rules of the internet. I know that it moves really fast. I know that if you’ve written a really good and angry piece on the relationship between sin, #GaryColeman, #JustinBieber, and #KellogsCornFlakes, you need to get that bad boy out there before those dudes stop trending. I also know that you need to respond quickly in order to be seen as relevant. So…
I hear you.
I simply refuse to play by the rules if the rules are sin-inducing. I’d rather be irrelevant and holy than relevant and rebellious. James 1:21 is clear, blog accordingly.
*It’s important to note that I am not advocating never posting a response to something that happens in that day. We just need to be wise in how we do it. It should be the exception and not the rule.