“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
- James 1:19
Upon his arrival home from work one day a father discovered the front window of his home shattered to smithereens, and there in the yard lay the evidence, a baseball bat and ball. So without further investigation the father stormed into the house, found his young son, and was just about to administer the punishment he obviously deserved for what appeared to be an open and shut case . . . until his wife walked in with the boy next door in tow who had confessed to the whole incident.
For many years during my Wall Street career I served as an arbitrator in the industry when disputes arose between two parties. The way the arbitration system works, arbitrators receive in advance a written detailed explanation of the claim from the claimant (plaintive) as well as a detailed response from the respondent (defendant). After reading the claim and response I would invariably conclude that it was an open and shut case in need of no further investigation . . . that is, until I listened to the testimonies on the actual day of the hearing. Without fail my initial conclusion would be proven wrong.
It was an open and shut case as well, so thought Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. Why else would Job have lost everything he had – his family, wealth and health – unless he was being punished by God for some undisclosed sin he had committed? All the evidence they needed was in plain sight, Job sitting on an ash heap, clothes ripped to shreds, head shaved, his body covered with painful sores. No need for further investigation, as Job’s three “friends” accusingly rushed to his side in their respective attempts to convince him to confess (to something he did not do). And if things were not bad enough for poor Job, he was forced to defend himself in kangaroo court where Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar presided as the self-appointed – not to mention self-righteous – judges.
We’ve all been there on one side or the other, either the one falsely accused or the one judging without further investigation. What a difference listening makes! “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”