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Be slow to speak…unless you’re apologizing

Know this, my beloved brothers:
let every person be quick to hear,
slow to speak, slow to anger;

for the anger of man does not produce
the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20

proof of insurance

Let every person…
I would get the honors after all. It was usually a dad-daughter thing. But because of a rainy morning, I got the afternoon draw.

The 30-minute drive to the courthouse went quickly. Jenna would be able to take the driving test on her 16th birthday!

Until they asked for all our paperwork.

I had asked the night before AND that morning—do y’all have everything you need? Insurance card? Title registration? Drivers’ permit? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Be quick to…
So when she handed it all to the administrator, why was there a problem?
The insurance card didn’t match the vehicle.

Quickly, I wasn’t happy.

Why hadn’t a responsible adult noticed that the car insurance card was NOT in the car? Who was supposed to have checked that?

Who was to blame?

Be slow to…
Jeff brought the truck; she’d have to drive it instead.

While she was being tested, so was I...

Jeff and I sat in the waiting room. And so I waited. For the “I’m so sorry, honey. I should have checked the cards.” But it didn’t come.

So I waited only slightly longer. Then asked for the apology. Someone needed to take responsibility for not double-checking the cards.

It didn’t go so well.

Jeff stepped outside for a minute. I tried not to cry.

[The other men in the waiting room? Perhaps they noticed, perhaps not. They appeared fresh from jail, excitedly awaiting this chance to renew their drivers’ licenses. My apologies to you, fellas, for some female drama to welcome you back to the real world.]

Jenna returned. She had passed the test! Even in the truck, even with a bump on the 3-point-turn. And Jeff and I reconciled.

But my test wasn’t over...

Yesterday morning, what did I find in my wallet? The insurance card for the car! It had been in MY purse all along.

I quickly apologized to Jenna for my fruitless anxiety on Wednesday. (She was long over it—she had her license. What else mattered?)

Now to Jeff. The one I had shown my quickness to anger. I quickly sent him a note: “I feel horrible. Guess what I just found in my purse? The CRV insurance card! I am so sorry.”

The righteousness of God
His reply? “I love you.”

It was just what I needed. Just what I wanted.

Not a lecture—I knew I had been wrong.
Not an “I told you so”—it wouldn’t have helped.

It was grace.

God knew the card had been in my purse all along. And he wanted me to know too. At just the right time.

To teach me to be slow to demand apologies,
and to be quick to extend them.

Know this, my beloved brothers…
That’s what we need to know. His grace. His love. His righteousness.

May it make us
     quick to hear and 
          slow to anger and
               slow to speak...unless we’re apologizing.

* * *

Are you quick or slow to apologize?


Sandy said...

I have to repeat this verse to myself all the time! This was such a great post! I am quick to apologize, but too often quick to speak and become angry. Thank you for sharing this post!

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation said...

It's definitely a life-long process. Some times I do better than others. But always, God is gracious and keeps bringing me back to His Word to keep reminding me, like with this lovely post. Thanks for a sweet Spiritual Sunday to send me off to sweet dreams. :)

Cindy said...

This is such a good post Lisa. I'm quick on the take off, but slow on the race. I'd be the first to apologize myself but know others who have never. This was a good lesson, love his reply.

Whitney said...

I need to re-read this post on a weekly basis! Thanks for the reminder. I'm always waiting for an apology before realizing I may not deserve one. Also, thanks Uncle Jeff for the great example of loving well :)

Kay said...

A very timely post this morning. I was just reading the parable of the Unmerciful Servant this morning in my bible reading and contemplating my own need to "be slow to demand apologies,
and to be quick to extend them." Thanks for being open with this and sharing... it was good for me to hear. :)

Lisa notes... said...

I told Uncle Jeff what you said. :-) He has definitely been a wonderful example of love in SO many ways. I'm so blessed to be in this family. I know Grant must feel the same way. :-)

Nikki (Sarah) said...

wow Lisa...this hit home for me trust more....and not be so quick to jump. Thanks for sharing your heart. I'm glad your dgt passed and your husband is who he is....He sounds like a great guy....

Donnie said...

I know I needed to hear hat and I'm sure I'll remember the insurance card when I start to go off.

Vintagesouthernlife said...

I needed to read this today. I'm quick to apologize but I'm afraid I'm also quick to expect apologies.

justcallmerie said...

Lisa, I'm just now catching up on reading my blogs. There's been much going on around here, not all of it good, and I'm behind.

I love this post!! So honest, and so familiar! You sitting there waiting for the apology could have been me on a regular basis, and the asking for it in public without alot of patience - that's me, too!

But - the you needing to apologize part, that's what hit home the most. Thanks!

Charlotte said...

Thank you for sharing this lesson learned. My mother always used to say "All's well that ends well." Sounds like this was one of those occasions. I know your daughter is so glad to have that test over with and passed that she would have no problem forgiving you.


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