Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak
"You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness" - James 1:19-20
Throughout the past couple of weeks it has been impossible to miss coverage of Dr. Ford's testimony during Judge Kavanaugh's Senate hearing. Following that testimony have been the equally visible reactions to what she said.
A few days ago I was reading a blog post by a youth pastor about how important our response within the church is as an example to our youth (check out that article here).
Since reading this article, I cannot help but recognize how important our reactions as Christians are, not only to our own youth but also to the world. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, to be an example of Christ's love to the world. How we treat people matters.
This isn't about what political party you support. It isn't even about whether or not you believe Dr. Ford. It is about how you treat someone as they share with you their story. When we tell someone that we don't believe her story, especially when we haven't even listened to her story and how that narrative has affected her life, then we are telling her that she don't matter.
When we tell someone that we don't believe her without really listening to her, when someone mocking a testimony about sexual assault is meet with cheering, we are telling boys and girls that if they are sexually assaulted and they tell someone they will be ignored, mocked, and laughed at.
When we say that this is a matter of boys being boys, and that her story doesn't reveal anything to be taken seriously, we are teaching boys that how they treat girls as teenagers doesn't matter. That assaulting women is normal.
Again, whether you believe Dr. Ford's story to be true or not, this is a reality that someone who sees or hears your reaction is facing. How you react to her is how they believe you will react to them.
As a country, this revelation has been causing a lot of fear and anger. We as individuals are a part of that fear and anger. But as the body of Christ, we are called to be a part of the healing that God's grace does.
I am reminded of a sermon that Pastor Caleb gave maybe a month or so ago, where we asked us to be "quick to listen, slow to speak." How we react to public claims of sexual assault set an example for those around us to witness how we will react to them if they come forward with a similar story. When we are quick to listen, we show them that we will hear their story too. When we are slow to speak, they will know that what we value their story.
How we react matters. What we say matters. May we be quick to listen and slow to speak.