Beetexting’s Communication Advocate, “Advocate” for short, will run reports on your conversations to let you know how much you are talking. Good Listener Reports are posted directly in the thread but are only visible to you. Here’s an example of what a Good Listener report may look like:
“Good Listener Report; over the last 24 hours, your messages have accounted for approximately 70% of this conversation;
John MacArthur: 15%
Ravi Zacharias: 15%
If everyone spoke equally, you’d be at approx. 33%. Would a question help bring things back in balance?”
The goal of this feature is to promote awareness of how much we are talking. We can enable or disable as well as adjust the frequency of this feature in the Advocate settings. This feature is based on three key Scriptures from our Bible Study on Communication. Here are three experts from the study.
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. – James 1:18-20
“Begat he us,” God brought man into existence and then redeemed him with His Word. All of man’s blessings flow from God’s Word.
“Swift to hear,” Because all of man’s blessings flow from God’s Word, man ought to be quick to hear. God has done much good with His word; one needs to be ready to listen to receive it. A man can not speak or form thoughts of speech at the same time as he listens.
“Slow to speak,” so then, a man needs to be slow to speak so that he can listen. If we are to be one body, letting the Spirit lead us, we must cooperate. Communication is cardinal to cooperation and unity. We are commanded to give our words due consideration, and that is what we must do. One may do well to avoid a conversation that is not a ready host to this command. One should be sure not to contribute to a discussion in a way that produces no space for slow speaking and listening.
“Slow to wrath,” if a man is swift to hear and slow to speak, they will be genuinely listening. A rash judgment can break down this crucial posture, diverting one’s attention away from listening and directing them to his thoughts. This snap judgment can lead to the opposite of being slow to speak whether one’s thoughts are verbalized or not. If one is no longer listening but talking to themselves, are they being slow to speak? This is crucial to the very nature of a follower of Christ.
James 1:18-20 is foundational to a believer. If he is a follower of Christ, he will be a doer of these commands. The commands in verse 19 directly follow the proclamation that God created us and saved us. God created us and saved us “Wherefore” (so that) we can follow this command to be great listeners. One must consider why being a great listener is such a central trait in the new man God creates. How can one do God’s will if he doesn’t listen to Him? How can one serve others if he doesn’t listen to them? (Matthew 25:31-46) How can one be a repenter if he doesn’t first hear? “Worketh not,” if we can not listen, we can not work the righteousness of God. If we are quick to judge, we can not do His will.
By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone. – Proverbs 25:15
There are all sorts of reasons we may speak too much. Sometimes we may talk too much because we are trying to help someone or persuade them. Proverbs 25:15 gives a general principle for ensuring one’s point is given its best chance at persuading.
“A prince is persuaded,” notice it does not say a king. A king, may in general, be thought to be wiser and more mature than a prince who may be younger and have less experience. It’s possible then that the king may be more ready to listen than a prince. In general, a prince may be younger and have some things in his way, such as ego, pride, and newfound power. This may make it difficult for him to listen and be ready to change his mind. The principle here may be that this advice will work even with a prince who may be one of the more difficult people to persuade. Put another way; one may ask, “who is more difficult to persuade than a King?!” Well, a prince just may be!
“Long forbearing,” before one is ready to listen, he often needs to feel heard. Before one offers his point of view up for consideration, he is wise to listen well to others. This takes patience, the opposite of interrupting or lying in wait for the slightest opportunity to inject oneself into the conversation, often than causing an affront and turning a discussion of considering two opinions into an argument. For more on listening, see commentary on James 1:18-20 in Commands, Listen More than you Speak section of Beetexting’s Bible Study on Communication.
“A soft tongue,” רַךְ (rǎḵ): adj. tender, mild, gentle. Dogmatically asserting one’s point of view as fact leaves no room for discussion. At this point, the person on the receiving end may feel as if the discussion is over. To take this approach can produce a standoff of sorts where one ego or will comes up against the other – certainly an unwise approach when attempting to persuade. Even a king trying to convince a peasant to change his mind on a matter is trying to persuade from a position of weakness since the peasant is the king of his own mind. This final thrust of dogmatic opinion will likely leave the other side feeling as though they have only two choices: 1.) to change their mind or 2.) to consider it an impasse, which can be met with aggression or avoidance (fight or flight). Patience is the better way.
A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. –Proverbs 18:6
A fool’s lips lead him into bitter impasses. “A soft tongue,” however, leaves room in the conversation and in the other person’s mind for continued introspection. If a mind is going to be changed, it will be changed within itself. In general, people do not allow their minds to be changed for them. This approach comes from a spirit of patience and trust in God’s sovereignty, the opposite of a hot temper that demands concessions to its thinking now.
As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. – Proverbs 25:12
A wise reprover complements an obedient ear; they fit well together. They make a good team. “Obedient,” שָׁמַע (šā·mǎʿ): v. hear. An obedient ear is an ear that hears. Not necessarily a person with an obedient disposition that also has ears to aid that disposition. Unity and teamwork depend on people who are good listeners. See commentary on James 1:18-20 in Commands, Listen More than you Speak section of Beetexting’s Bible Study on Communication.
Perhaps this is part of what makes an ear that hears (He that hath ears to hear let him hear. – Matthew 11:15, Mark 4:9). When one reflects on Jesus’s words, it causes them to consider the concept of election embedded in this verse. Matthew 11:15, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” We know that faith comes from hearing. Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It would seem then that God is the giver of an ear that hears. How oft can one read the same verse, year-after-year, and the Spirit gives him a new understanding, year-after-year, apt to their circumstances. The Spirit is certainly a wise reprover, but He is also the giver of an ear that hears. God sends man repentance. It is not something man accomplishes. When this happens, it is precious. When the Spirit works, and man doesn’t fight Him, when the Spirit speaks, and man listens, it is an ornament of gold.
See also, Answering without Hearing.