It does make a difference whether we speak, or listen to others speak. It also makes a big difference who it is that is speaking to us. The enemy will say that which is quite different from what a friend declares. It also makes a difference how quick we are to respond to the speech of others, and whether we are angry in a moment at them, or whether we hold our tongues, and control our wrath.
That is why in James 1:19, 20 we read, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
Indeed, we must be swift to hear what God declares about the things which we are tempted to seek, and we must quickly turn away from that evil. Likewise, we must run away from those that tempt us, and refuse to go along with those whom Satan is using to get us into sin. It is so important that we get away from those who tempt us.
But then also we must be slow in speaking to them lest we encourage them to come more strongly with their temptations. Speak not until God gives you spiritual strength that drives them away, rather than using words that encourage them to tempt more strongly.
Likewise, be slow in letting your wrath be known. You may have to drive them away, and tell them to leave you. But first strive to get them to see their evil stand, and bring them God's Word and Satan's lie. Strive to help them turn from their evil ways, and to turn to God's Word for instruction. If it please Him it will bring them to conversion.
Be swift to hear God,and you will slow down in your walk of sin. We do have so much of it in this life. Run swiftly then to God; and speak slowly to your enemies. Be slow in manifesting your wrath, so that, if it pleases God, they too will see the sin, and want to hear God speak, and turn them from their evil ways.
Read: James 3
Quote for Reflection:
¼ What is your relationship to this world? It becomes apparent that many of the saints in James’ day had cultivated a friendship with the world and had become the friends of the world. Sorry to say, the same is also true of many in the church today. Friendship involves especially two things: attraction and companionship. Friendships develop when two or more find in one another something that is mutually attractive and that draws them together. This can be a common interest, a common goal, even a common problem. But for some reason they are attracted to each other. And because they are attracted to each other they also seek each other’s company. They delight to be with each other and to do things together. –J. Slopsema (SB, Vol. 66, pg. 411)