Rabbit Ears And Turtle Tongues

Tachus And Bradus

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
James 1:19

The word swift here is Tachus. It means quick, fleet, speedy. James knew the perils of being slow to hear. Commentators believe that this was James, The Lord’s brother. The Bible tells us that the brothers of Jesus didn’t believe in Him until after His resurrection.
Can you imagine the time with Him that they cost themselves? They missed so many miracles, and so many messages, because they didn’t believe. How would their lives have been different if they had believed sooner? He knew, all too well, the perils of not listening.
Slow here is the word Bradus. It doesn’t only mean slow, it means dull, inactive in mind. Metaphorically, it describes it as stupid, slow to apprehend or believe. In other words, speaking only for myself, it tells me to do the opposite of what I’m tempted to do.
Too often, I am Bradus about hearing, and Tachus about speaking. Essentially he’s advising us to keep an open mind and a reluctant mouth. One of my favorite quotes is, “Better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
I suppose it’s my favorite because I have suffered from ‘Foot and Mouth Disease’ too many times. There have been so many incidents to where I immediately wish I could erase my last two sentences. Now, I work harder at silence, or at least I try too. I’m far, far from perfect, but I have found my stupidity level goes down when my mouth stays closed.
Our Pastor has always taught us that, “The Relationship is more important than the argument.” If we really believe that, then we must put more energy into the relationship than being right. We have to find tools to keep us from hurting those we care about. One good way of doing this is what one writer called, practicing pausing. If someone says something, before you respond to what you think they meant, pause. The relationship is worth the wait.
My Wife doesn’t have serious conversations with me at 4:00 in the morning. She knows that it would be a waste of time and energy. She takes my comatose state under advisement. I know that it’s a comical analogy, but it’s true. Most of the time, when I pause, I see the situation from more than my own point of view. I realize that what I heard, and what they actually said, are two vastly different things. I can be almost as sluggish at 4:00 pm as I can at 4:00 am.
Another tool is, remember who you’re talking too. Ashley would never purposely say anything to hurt me. If I keep that in mind when she’s speaking, then it can remind me that, what I think I heard could be more about my state of mind than hers. Neither one of us are perfect, but we know each other. We trust each other. Our commitment to our relationship tells us that we’re on the same team.
Lastly, remember, it takes two to argue. Maybe after pausing, you realize that you’re actually hearing what you thought you were. Perhaps it’s not a loved one that you’re talking too. Maybe it’s someone who is actually out to get you. In those cases, we have a choice.
We can lash out, possibly ruining our influence with that person. Remember, today’s enemy could be tomorrow’s friend. Or, keep in mind that you may be fighting with a stranger, but someone you influence could be watching. Someone, is always watching.
The other option is to remind myself that The Lord endured a lot harsher words than I ever will. Sure, I could try and say that He was perfect. Of course, then I’m reminded of the verses, “I Am With You Always. . .” and “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me.” That sort of ruins the excuse I’m trying to sell to God and me. Knowing that He who spoke worlds into existence, knew when to be silent, helps make my keeping quiet easier.
I still struggle with it, but I’m more successful today than I was in the past. It’s worth always working at, but it does get easier. My wish for us both today is that we may have rabbit ears and turtle tongues!

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