Don’t Overreact


James 1:19 (New Living Translation)

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Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Understand brothers and sisters you must be quick to listen and pay attention in obedience to God’s laws, slow to speak and not over react to fast out of anger, temper, or selfishness and slow to get angry

No hot tempers or outbursts keeping trust in the father and your faith

What Does James 1:19 Mean? ►

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

James 1:19(ESV)

Verse Thoughts

Too often in life we discover the folly of opening our mouth and responding in careless haste to the words and actions of others and too often we react in annoyance or anger, only to discover that we had misunderstood the facts of the matter, causing us to regret that we spoke so quickly and reacted so hastily.

There are many scriptures that warn of the poison that can fall from the tongue and the damage that unguarded words or fiery tempers can produce, and others that advise us to listen to what is said, to hear what is spoken, to guard our lips in what we say and our reactions in all we do, which can so often spark a fire that harms so many people.

In this passage James was writing to warn believers against self-deception – and in particular he was encouraging them to pay careful heed to the Word of God for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

If our words and actions are to be seasoned with salt and honouring to our Father, we should especially be quick to hear the words of wisdom that comes from the Scriptures and to be wise in our response to God’s voice.

Sometimes we may not like what we hear and sometimes believers have been known to argue with God and become angry at His Word – but the wise man or woman will be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, particularly in the things of the Lord. 

My Prayer

Loving heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word, and the wise instructions it contains. Help me to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, not only with those with whom I have to do – but also as it relates to You and Your Word, even on those occasions when I do not understand. Help me to be quick to hear Your voice – but slow to question Your perfect plans and purposes, in Jesus name


What does James 1:19 mean?

The opening passage of James instructed believers to maintain trust in God, even during hard times. In fact, believers are to consider their hardships as “joy,” since trials are how God strengthens our faith. This raises the question of what it means to remain faithful to God—to continue to trust Him—even when the trials of life come our way. For one thing, those who trust God continue to obey Him. Starting in verse 19, James begins to describe what that obedience looks like.

Those who trust and obey God learn to adjust the speed of their listening and speaking. If God is truly in control, we can afford to take the time to understand. Rather than shooting from the hip, we can respond in a way that is helpful. Doubting that God is in control speeds up our mouth and slows down our mind.

As believers, we shouldn’t be obsessed with ensuring that we are heard and understood in order to get what we want. When we act according to our immediate desires, and our immediate reactions, we feel a lack of control. And when we feel like we’re losing control, we will get angry.

Notice that this is not a command to never feel anger. Anger is a human emotion that everyone experiences, and it can be justified. However, James’ instruction here makes it clear that we can learn to control—or at least slow down—our angry responses. In fact, to refuse to let anger control us is itself an act of faith. It is a choice to believe that the Father is in control, that He loves us, and that He is good.

The next verse makes clear why learning to control our anger is such a big deal.

Context Summary

James 1:19–27 emphasizes that those who truly trust God don’t settle for merely appearing religious. They give up trying to control the world with their words and their anger. They humbly receive the Word God has planted in them, listen to it, and proceed to do what it says. Part of what the Word says to us is that we should keep control over our words, to care for those who are weak and suffering, and to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world around us.

Chapter Summary

How important is it for Christians to trust God? It’s so important, James writes, that we should call our worst moments joyful things, because trials help us trust God more. People who trust God ask Him for wisdom—and then take what He gives. People who trust God make a bigger deal about their rewards in the next life than their wealth in this one. People who trust God don’t blame Him for their desire to sin; they give Him credit for all that is good in their lives. They look into His Word, and they act on what they see there

Author: J. Palmer

Living under the wings of God and the angels around me keeping me going and safe. Sharing the love of Christ.

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