All of the students at a school in Florida—2,550 in total—were in trouble. A message system notified every parent that their child (or children) had detention that weekend for bad behavior. Many kids pleaded their innocence, yet some parents meted out punishment anyway. One mother, Amy, admitted that she yelled at her son and made sure he showed up for his detention on Saturday.
To the relief of 2,534 kids, and to the embarrassment of some parents, they discovered that the automated message was sent in error to the entire student body when only 16 kids actually deserved detention! Amy felt so bad about not listening to and believing her son that she took him out for breakfast that Saturday morning.
We all have stories to tell about circumstances that have shown us our need to listen before we speak. We’re naturally tempted to come to quick judgments and react angrily. The book of James gives us these three practical exhortations to deal with life’s stressful situations: “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).
In life’s stresses, let’s be “doers of the Word” (v.22), and take the time to listen and show restraint with our words and anger today.