“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19)
As we observe Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s important to reflect on the messages, guidance and godly wisdom he left behind. Dr. King relentlessly pursued his dream of standing for racial equality, love and justice for all.
In honor of the life and message of Dr. King, FCA has created a five-day YouVersion reading plan that reminds us to still pursue his dream for love, the ministry of presence, knowledge and understanding, God’s heart and God’s will. Each week for the next five weeks, we’ll sample a day of the reading and link up with the YouVersion plan so you can complete the entire plan and be empowered to seek God’s heart for justice and racial equality.
“As people engage themselves with this new material, hearts will come together and see that bigger picture of how we can pursue the dream together,” said FCA Board of Trustees Chair Darlene Johnson.
Johnson, who is also a contributor to Still Pursuing the Dream, believes steps towards God’s unity start with an alignment of our hearts, as well as the pursuit of understanding the heart of God.
“When I think of what Dr. King did, he was great at bringing people together under a greater cause,” she said. “As a ministry, we’re saying we want to come together for this common cause of diversity. We want to get better in this area and utilize the gifting and talents that God has poured into every single one of us.”
Click the image below to start
Still Pursuing the Dream!
Want to dive deeper into the heart of God? Start Hope & Healing: 5 Biblical Principles Towards Racial Reconciliation. In this connected YouVersion Plan, learn to connect on how God would have you LOVE, LISTEN, LEARN and LAMENT around the issue of racism and unity. Then, LEVERAGE what He has given you to bring real, lasting healing and change.
Back in my college football days, I remember being upset with my coaches because I felt like my talents were not utilized as best they could (mind you this was coming from a 19-year-old’s mind). The coaches had a plan, but I was slow to listen, quick to speak, and very angry to the point that serious consequences were in the works to deal with my attitude. I wasn’t living out James 1:19.
I eventually learned many life lessons during that ordeal and went on to be a quality contributor to our team’s success. The adage that “God gave us two ears and one mouth and, therefore, we should listen twice as much as we talk” is simple yet profound. While this phrase is a cultural cliché, we can learn from it as we seek to bring hope and healing in our racial relationships. We must strive to hear from others before we desire for them to hear from us.
Proverbs 18:2 gives us insight on people who desire to talk more than listen: “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” Instead, we should approach relationships as Samuel did in 1 Samuel 13. He wanted to hear from God; so he made himself available to listen.
Spiritually speaking, the Lord has listened to our list of prayers many times before He was able to share His heart with us. He desires to hear from His children first. By His example, we should learn to listen first. In verse 1:19, James further explains how to respond in a godly manner:
- Be quick to listen: Listen to understand, not to respond.
- Be slow to speak: Don’t’ speak right away, so you can think and pray about what to say and how to respond in love.
- Be slow to anger: Allow the Holy Spirit to control our emotions, so that we have a greater chance to preserve the relationship.
The principle of listening is about hearing the heart and perspective of a person’s life and experiences without judging or presupposing your thoughts, ideas, culture norms, or world view. Listening requires a spirit of humility. And during a time when people are yelling at and refusing to hear the viewpoint and pain of others, we must choose to listen first.
-FCA Divisional VP North USA Rick Isaiah
Join us these next weeks as we celebrate the vision and resilience of Dr. King, the legacy he left behind, and how FCA continues to pursue his dream and embody his principles as Christian coaches and athletes.