Quick to listen, slow to speak

Farmville Enterprise January 30, 2019

As of January 2018 there were approximately 3.8 billion unique users who made up the global mobile population out of about 7.7 billion people in the world. The prevalence of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices results in varying degrees of positive and negative consequences. While these devices have helped in countless emergency situations, making things like Amber and weather alerts more effective and allowing communication during power outages caused by natural or other disasters, they also have hindered the ability of many people to talk comfortably face to face with others, to drive without distraction or to disconnect and get away for peace and quiet.

We see churches and ministries that use social media to advertise worship times and events and to mobilize help for volunteer opportunities such as Meals on Wheels and the Community Outreach Kitchen or to rally around those in need due to a flood, fire or other crisis.

We also see many individuals and news outlets who use sensational “clickbait,” internet content with the main purpose of attracting attention or “clicks” on a link, for self-promotion. The result can be viral videos or news stories which give only a small part of the details and paint an incomplete picture of the event that actually transpired. In our 24/7 news cycle some who put content out there feel the need to do so immediately in order to get a jump on the competition. This too often is done without proper fact-checking or without reporting the event clearly in context. Often, people become quite angry about a polarizing story that might have been misleading or wildly inaccurate. Most of us have been guilty of assuming things and rushing to judgment without an objective, broad view of the facts. It is especially bad when we assume we know someone else’s motives for behaving a certain way or when we generalize that “those” people have no redeeming qualities. We should make it a habit to wait for facts to emerge, listen to different sides of a story, try not to assume bad things about people and give them the benefit of the doubt.

In his epistle the disciple James writes an admonition that applies to us.  “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1: 19-20)

The J.B. Phillips translation gives this wording for Paul’s goal for the Philippians: “I want you to be able always to recognize the highest and the best, and to live sincere and blameless lives until the day of Jesus Christ. I want to see your lives full of true goodness, produced by the power that Jesus Christ gives you to the praise and glory of God.” (Philippians 1: 10- 11)



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