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Mom Told Me I Should Listen More By Ed McDowell

Learning to Listen and More!

Mom was right. When all you do is talk, it just makes other people annoyed or mad. When you listen, good things tend to happen.


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

James 1:19 NLT

Listening has so many benefits. You hear what is going on around you, focus on understanding what others are trying to share, and stay calm. Listening honors the ones speaking to you. It reduces tension and fends off anger. Listening leads to personal growth and wisdom.

Talking too much has many drawbacks. The talker is always thinking about their next words to say. It is hard for others to contribute to the conversation. Talking is like an accelerator on a car, the faster you go the riskier it gets.

Talking often leads to anger, either from the one building up the verbal speed or energy or from those who can’t get away from the speech speed demon!

Anger let loose is destructive every time. James reminds us that human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Too much talking often leads to anger and frustration. Listening reigns anger in and keeps it in check.


It turns out Mom was speaking the truth of scripture. She understood what the Apostle James was sharing with us. Take time today to focus on listening more, speaking less, and keeping anger in check. Good things come from listening.

Personal Note

I am a verbal processor. I think things through in thoughtful dialogue with trusted people. Over time, I have grown in how to make this work well. It begins with listening. I take the issue I am dealing with and put it into the form of a question. The question is asked, and I listen. Listening leads to dialogue. Dialogue uncovers discernment. Discernment reveals a wise path forward.

Consider how listening affects our relationship with God. Learning to listen in prayer and reading scripture is a key area of growth. It is easy to blitz God with all of our stuff. It might be worth trying a few listening questions:

  • Dear Jesus, what do You want to say about my relationship with You?
  • Dear Father God, what do You want me to understand from Your word today?
  • Dear Holy Spirit, what do You want me to see about this situation I am in?


Dear Jesus,

Thank You for the wisdom of my mom. Thank you. She was teaching me your ways of encouraging me to listen more, speak less, and keep my anger in check.

Thank You for showing me the benefits of listening, the drawbacks of speaking too much, and the challenge of keeping my anger in check.

These words of the Apostle James are for everyone following Jesus. Even those who don’t know Christ will benefit from putting Mom’s biblical wisdom into practice.

Holy Spirit, please help us put this into action in our lives today.

In Your name, Jesus, we pray,



Ed McDowell is the CEO of Warm Beach Camp Ministries. He also coaches and consults in board leadership and development to bring fresh perspectives to perplexing situations. Ed authorizes a devotional series titled A Well-Planted Faith in an Uprooted Culture. His writing and speaking aim to challenge people to have God’s Word inform how they live. Ed and his wife, Bev, live on Camano Island, Washington, where they live out their mission statement: “To give our lives away for the cause of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible.”

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