James 1: 19 (ESV)
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

The immediate context of James 1:19 is anger that is incompatible with the righteousness of God. As I thought about James’ admonition to be “quick to hear, slow to speak,” I realized that a lot of anger comes from getting these two phrases reversed – quick to speak and slow to hear.

I digress from the topic of anger and zero in on the application of “quick to hear and slow to speak” for daily human interaction. Dale Carnegie said, “To be interesting, be interested,” and corollary to that, Jim Collins,  a famous management guru, said, “Be interested, not interesting.”  This is not an original idea but may be considered an application of Philippians 3:2-4 (ESV)

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Carnegie’s and Collins‘ advice has provided a good mantra for “winning friends and influencing people” but fall short in the godly motive behind being genuinely interested in people. We should be interested in people because God is interested in them. This is the basis of their value and significance. If God, the Creator of the whole universe, cares for and is mindful of each man (Psalm 8:4), who am I to think less of another person?

Our Triune God knows relationships more than any mortal expert.  I ask the Holy Spirit to help me be interested in other people and repent of my self-adulation in my daily conversations and interactions with other people.

When I am more interested in the other person than in presenting myself as interesting, when I listen to understand and not just to reply, how many more relationships could I nurture? How many angry altercations could I avoid? How many more people would see the light of Jesus in me?

Lesson Reflection on iStudy James Lesson 1