“Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.”
This funny yet helpful advice has crossed my mind a number of times in the last few months. The first time I heard someone say it, I was sitting in a narrow downstairs room in a Baptist church at one of my first AA meetings. I think the room must have been, at one time, a storage closet converted into a meeting room. As I think back on this now, it was kind of appropriate to be having recovery meetings in a storage closet. You come across and uncover a lot of junk in storage closets.
There’s wisdom in that funny advice above. And, nowadays, whenever it comes to mind, this verse from James 1:19 is quick to follow:
“My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger…”
Over the years, I’ve often said that I think Jesus seems to take us on an onion peeling journey. And this be quick to listen slow to speak layer appears to be the layer we have hit. In case you’re like me and need the more direct approach. I am learning, over and over, that in most situations in my life I need to shut up and listen…first. This comes before explaining, justifying, complaining or defending. This verse in James doesn’t say not to speak…but to be slow to speak. I tend to have a problem with the slow part.
This morning I counted how many times the word listen came up in the Book of Proverbs: 30 times. 30 times in just 31 chapters. I’m thinking it must be important.
Dear, Lord, keep peeling the onion. I may not be sitting in a storage closet…but I know there is still junk in this heart that needs to be cleaned out and replaced by Your words, Your love, and Your compassion.
“a wise man will listen and increase his learning,
and a discerning man will obtain guidance.” ~ Proverbs 1:5