“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
James 1:19 (ESV)
Apologists are to be held, at least, to the same standard as other Christians regarding our Christian walk. We are not exempt from serving others (1 Pet. 4:10), loving our neighbors (Tip#1; Mk. 12:31), or walking in the spirit (Gal. 5:16). Among these general instructions to the church we find the words of James, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” (James 1:19, ESV). Our zeal for the Lord should motivate eager listening and patient speaking.These precede the point about anger. Listening well and pacing out can help lengthen your “fuse” next time you are liable to blow up in anger. To this can be added, “To answer before listening– that is folly and shame.” (Prov. 18:13, NIV). Apologists often make their trade in talking, answering, lecturing, speaking, preaching, teaching and all things verbal. We love to be “answer” people yet we often fail to really hear the other person, and even a “good” answer to the question can fall flat if we forget to address the questioner. Listen to understand the person, and secondarily to understand the question. Listen so you decelerate your “answer mode” and actually engage graciously with the person. Listen so you don’t fall in love with your own voice. Listen so you trust better that God’s stirring in their heart is far more powerful than any words from your mouth. Listen.