A perennial issue within our culture, and even the Church today, is that we love to talk. It doesn’t matter what the subject might be, we just love pouring copious amounts of words from our mouths (and fingertips). We live in a culture where it is good to always have something to say and those who don’t say much are considered socially awkward and are encouraged to join in conversation more.
In a sense, talking is a good thing. By speaking with others, they get to know us and we get to know them. I encourage conversation, and we as believers especially should be excited to spread the message of our Lord and Savior through our words. However, we sometimes forget how to think.
A problem many of us have is that our mouth opens and our heads are ten miles behind trying to stop our mouth from saying whatever stupid thing we’re saying. You may laugh, but it’s true of you and (especially) me as well. So what do we do? How about we start listening instead. The saying goes that God gave us two ears and only one mouth for a reason. But James says it better:
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:19-21 ESV)
How often do you answer someone right away? The moment they say something, you fire something back at them. Or maybe you just wait there all day to see what people are going to put on line just so you have the pleasure of proving them wrong or adding to their oddities. This mustn’t be. As believers in Christ, we need to redeem our minds for his Gospel. This means following the advice of my friend Nate as he commented on a facebook debate the other day:
Part of being a critical thinker is learning to not simply react when you hear something you disagree with, but to ask yourself whether there might be something you can learn from it… So I guess what I’m saying is don’t write things off just because you disagree with them. Always ask yourself if God is trying to teach you something, even though it might hurt a little.