Extraordinary relationships are founded on extraordinary principles from the Bible.
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.James 1:19-27
How to turn our relationships into Extraordinary?
Humans are relational beings. We are surrounded by different people and we often define ourselves by our relationships. No one can live by his/her alone. We need others to survive and we have this feeling of happiness when we have good relationships with others. But building good relationships with others is not that easy. We have differences in our character, personalities, opinions, beliefs, and even experiences that may cause conflicts in our connection toward others.
Our relationships help us not only physically and emotionally but also spiritually. We have our “side by side” relationship toward others and we also have our “upward” relationship with the Lord. In James 1:19-27 we can learn some truths on how to turn our relationships toward others and with the Lord into extraordinary.
Extraordinary Principle #1
Be Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak
We are quick in speaking but not listening. Oftentimes, we like to have someone who can listen to our stories, rants, and dramas but we often do not want to listen. We always want to be heard. However, we do not like to listen. How easily words can slip out of our mouths- words of anger, frustrations, and criticisms. It is easy for us to express our anger toward one another but it is hard for us to hear and understand others.
James, in verse 19 gave a piece of good relationship advice that we can receive and apply in our lives. Here we can see how he gave emphasis on listening, let us be quick to hear, be careful, and also be patient. James is giving a series of actions that we can take:
(1) Let us choose to listen patiently. Be quick to hear what others is saying and try to understand them. Let us also be quick to hear what the Word is saying to us. Read and study the Word, let it grow in you.
(2) Slow to speak. There is so much sin in us that the less we speak the better. We can see also in chapter 3: 6-9 of James, our tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness that can set on fire the entire course of life. Let us tame our tongues. We should be careful and think before we speak.
(3) Slow to become angry. Being quick to listen and slow to speak will help us to give ourselves time to control and change our negative responses, as v.20 says “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires”. ‘
Being united in the body of Christ, The Word urges us to diligently work in our relationships
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-
Extraordinary Principle #2
Be a Doer of the Word
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.James 1:23-24
Not only to listen but be also a doer of the Word. James gave a picture for us to see that someone who hears the Word but not a doer is deceiving himself/herself. While the one who is not forgetful hearer but a doer of the Word shall be blessed in his/her deeds.
Doers of the Word are not hearers only. Listening and meditating in the Word leads to action. Of course, there are times we will fail and we are still struggling but the Lord sees and honors our desires of change and do what he calls us to do. Moreover, We should also see that life with God should be seen more like a friendship than duty.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.James 1:26-27
Let our faith be our walk. Let our walk be our talk
This is a reminder for all of us. If we see ourselves religious but living a life of disobedience to the Word. We are worthless. We are only deceiving our own hearts. God accepts pure and faultless. Pure is this to love our neighbors and faultless is this to live a life of obedience to the Word and love God. Maybe this is the time for you to reconcile your relationship with the Lord and entrust your relationships to Him.
What are you waiting for? You can turn your relationships into something. As you read and study this passage ask God to work in your life. May He work in us and make us into extraordinary.
What a meaningful passage! I hope these truths can help you in your relationships not only toward others but also to the Lord. Let us all Be Quick to Listen and Be a Doer. Let us turn our relationships into extraordinary.