James 1:19-20 (NIV)
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."
In 2010, an African-American woman named Shirley Sherrod was fired from her job as an United States Department of Agriculture employee because of a video tape which appeared to show her making racist remarks concerning a white farm owner. She was fired by the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack after he viewed the video. Within 24 hours of Shirley Sherrod losing her job it was discovered that video had actually been edited. The full video showed her remarks not to be racist at all but instead a testimony of how to move beyond racism and help each other. Tom Vilsack later apologized to Shirley Sherrod and offered her a new job in the department.
This highly publicized incident gives us a good example why we all should be "quick to listen" and "slow to speak". We all should be careful not to rush to judgement in any situation. I have made this mistake many times throughout my life. Things can appear one way at first until we have more information which later can make the same situation appear differently. Even when one person has accused another we must actively seek both sides of the story.
Proverbs 18:13 (NIV)
"He who answers before listening, that is his folly and his shame."
Proverbs 18:17 (NIV)
"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him."
We must be careful not to take any statement out of context (especially the Word of GOD). Unfortunately there are those who take scriptures from the Bible and quote them out of their proper context to support their own point of view. This is done in order to deceive us. Here is an example where the devil tried to deceive and tempt Jesus by using the Word of GOD out of it's proper context.
Matthew 4:5-7 (NIV)
"Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' " Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test."
The scripture the devils quoted is Psalm 91:11-12. However lets read this scripture beginning with verse 9 through 13.
Psalm 91:9-13 (NIV)
"9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent."
Verse 10 uses the word "befall" which is defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary as a verb to mean, "to happen especially as if by fate" or "to happen to". Therefore verses 9 thru 10 are saying if we make GOD first in our lives no harm will come and be successful toward us. The devil decided to only quote verses 11 thru 12 (using them out of their proper context) and tried to trick Jesus to put himself in harms way (or go towards the harm) when the passage speaks about GOD's protection from the harm that would come towards him (and us). By putting ourselves in harms way we are testing GOD. This is why Jesus answered the devil as HE did.
Therefore it is very important that we do not make a rush to judgement in any situations. We must carefully examine all of the evidence and consider both sides of any story before we make a final conclusion. We must be quick to listen and slow to speak. To do otherwise does not bring about the righteous life that God desires for us. Let's love one another and walk in peace!
I pray these words have been a blessing for you as they are for me (bringing us in closer relationship with our FATHER). Please feel welcome to reply and share your thoughts by posting them here or privately at email@example.com.
If this message has touched your heart and you do not know JESUS CHRIST as your Lord & Savior but want HIM in your life you can accept HIM right now wherever you are. Pray this prayer out loud, "Dear GOD, I ask forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that JESUS CHRIST is your son. I believe that JESUS suffered and died on the cross, was buried, and was resurrected for me. I accept JESUS as my Lord & Savior. Come now and live in my heart. I accept you as head of my life. In the name of JESUS I thank you, Amen."
If you have just prayed this prayer I say to you "GOD bless you and Congratulations"! If you do not have a church home, pray and ask GOD to lead you to a local (Bible believing) church in your area where you can be baptized in the name of JESUS, fed the Word of GOD, and fellowship with other Christians.
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GOD bless you!