My car has a hands free way for me to call and answer my cell phone. I simply push a button and a voice says, “Please say a command after the tone.” I then tell it the name of the person I want to call, and it searches for the person in my contacts list. If there are multiple numbers for that person, it asks me to state which number I want to call. Sometimes I get in too big of a hurry and I speak before the tone is finished. When this happens, the voice responds, “You spoke too soon, please try again.” This can be annoying and frustrating, but I also think there is an important lesson to be learned from those words. In our day to day dealing with other people, we are often too quick to answer and too slow to listen. James reminds us to be “quick to hear and slow to speak.” We all have heard the saying that we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Sometimes we speak out of anger or we judge someone before we have all the facts. We say things that are hurtful and then wish we could take them back. Once those words leave our mouth there is no way to retrieve them. The voice in my car asks me to try again, but we may not get a second chance when we say something that is false, judgmental, or harmful. With God’s help, I am going to try to listen better and not speak too soon.
– Dr. Neil Epler