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By Rich Peterson

When I was a little boy, I had very large ears. So large in fact that my parents took me to a plastic surgeon to see if there was anything to be done about them. He simply shared with us that my ears were “large” but that my head would eventually grow into them and all would be well.

I will let you be the judge of whether or not the doctor was right – but ever since then I have been aware of the fact that I have been given two big ears – the better to hear you with!

In my final year of high school, I won an award for best smile. It reminded me of the fact that while listening, it is always better to listen twice as much as I speak, and if possible it is always better to smile than to frown.

Finally, in my early teenage years, I had a cousin say to me that “with all your energy for others – maybe you ought to think about going into the ministry.” Ministry has indeed required a lot of energy – it’s much better for me if it’s “happy energy” and not “angry energy.”

I share the preceding three stories from my own life in hopes that they will help you remember the three instructions James, the brother of our Lord, shares concerning hearing, speaking, and anger.

When you bring all three of these things together you basically have what James says is foundational if we are to accept the word of God, and act on what we hearBig ears, a smile and a happy heart.

In other words, “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).

Discussion Questions:

Copy and paste this link to share the article on your social media with an answer to one or more of these questions (or put your answer in the comments).

  • Read James 1. What challenges you in this chapter?
  • How are you struggling with angry energy?
  • What changes do you need to make in your life to have big ears, a smile, and a happy heart?
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