Question #2: How Slow is Slow?

From time to time I receive questions that deserve a post for an answer.  Other times I read or hear questions from other sources and think an answer would be helpful.  This article is the second question to get it’s own post.  The first was a question offered by the football player Ndamukong Suh.  If you have not read that article, jump on over and give it a read (An Answer to Ndamukong Suh’s Question).  His question was basically, “Why would I do something stupid?”

This second question comes from a Facebook post by a former student of mine.  She first quoted this verse:

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

–James 1:19

She then stated her question, “Definition of slow is what exactly?”  Good question.  In our answer we will also be answering what the definition of quick is.  How would you answer this question.  One other person responded on Facebook with an answer, “A good solid 3 count, then be angry.  That’s what I do.”  This tongue-in-cheek answer actually moves in the right direction.

Since quick and slow are relative terms, we cannot apply a definite measurement for it.  Specifics can apply to the terms, but they must be stated.  For example, most school zones have speed limits of 20 miles per hour for vehicles.  It could be said that cars are to slow down to 20 mph.  This would apply to cars previously going 35 mph or 55 mph.  Whatever the starting speed, the instructed speed is now 20 mph while in the slow down area.

Without a stated speed, a slow down sign would be relative.  If in a residential area, slowing down might mean to go 20 to 25 mph.  If on an interstate highway, slowing down might mean to go 55 to 60 mph.  It all depends on the context and the reason for the caution.

So how do we apply this to James’ instruction?  We are to listen sooner than we want to or normally listen.  We are to wait longer to speak than we want to or normally speak.  We are to wait longer to be angry than we want to or normally become angry.

At whatever point you would normally begin listening, do it sooner.  At the point you would normally offer your opinion, be silent a bit longer.  When you have reached your reached your boiling point with your anger, relax for awhile.

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