If there were a contest for most popular virtue, I suspect that “fast” would beat “best.” Many parts of the world seem to be obsessed with speed. The “fast” craze, however, is getting us nowhere—fast.

“The time has come to challenge our obsession with doing everything more quickly,” says Carl Honoré in his book In Praise of Slowness. “Speed is not always the best policy.”

According to the Bible, he’s right. Peter warned that in the last days people would doubt God because it seems He is slow (“slack”) in fulfilling His promise to return. Peter pointed out, however, that this seeming slowness is a good thing. God is actually demonstrating His patience by giving people more time to repent (2 Peter 3:9), and also being true to His character, as in patient or slow to anger (Ex. 34:6).

We too must be slow to become angry—and slow to speak (James 1:19). According to James, “quickness” is reserved for our ears. We’re supposed to be quick to listen. Think about how much trouble we could avoid if we learned to listen—really listen, not just stop talking—before we speak.

In our rush to meet goals and deadlines, let’s remember to speed up our listening and to slow down our tempers and our tongues.