Our organs of perception and expression are not meant to function at the same speed.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19–20 ESV)
Biblical wisdom trains the senses to calibrate their velocities both with reality and with the opportunity to construct community.
Hearing is meant to spring purposefully towards opportunity. Quick out of the blocks, sustaining a sprint, rounding the corner for a lap even faster than the last one.
Listen quickly, listen long, listen often, wisdom would tell us. Be quick about it. Time’s a’wastin’.
Yet speech ought to take its time. Talk needs to meander slowly down the street, pause often to distract itself with the goings on, creep towards its moment. If it never gets to the end of the block, little is lost. If our power of speech feels unappreciated, well, let it learn to enjoy the occasional time-out.
And then there’s anger. Not exactly an expressive capacity, it is the fast-acting venom the poisons in direct proportion to its velocity. Let it stall, stumble, stand idly in self-forgetfulness. The less that is seen of anger, the better.
Critically, the anger of man does not produce the righteous of God.
Anger gets itself up into a bother, comes quickly to feel righteously indignant, makes all sorts of unnecessary speeches. Enough already. Slow the thing down before it hurts somebody. God is rarely in the anger. He lives elsewhere, with rare exceptions.
Hurry up to hear. Slow down the tongue-wagging. Make anger a tortoise.
Know your speeds.