I’ve been convicted as of late that I’ve not been listening to others very well. First, it popped up in the book of James as I was reading a couple of weeks ago: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Wow. That statement is like an arrow that pierced my heart. Especially when I realized that I’ve been quicker to speak than listen recently.
Then, about a week later I was reading a book on parenting and the author said this:
“When children are little, we often fail to engage them in significant conversation. When they try to engage us, we respond with uninterested “uh huh’s.” Eventually, they learn the ropes” (Tedd Tripp – Shepherding a Child’s Heart). Again, wow. Another arrow.
In that moment I realized that I desperately want to listen to my son better. I want to know what he’s thinking and feeling (and I want to establish this now so that as he grows, he desires to come to me knowing he’ll be heard by his father).
And then I thought, man, I really want to know what my wife is thinking and feeling. And my family and friends. And my worship team. And my church.
But am I listening to them?
I think, and often by accident, I get so excited when I’m with others that I just can’t wait to share with them what’s going on in my life. While that can be a good thing, recently I fear it has led to me being quicker to speak than listen.
I’ve been praying that God will help me to slow down in the moment, swallow my pride that desires to be heard, and truly listen to those God has placed me in community with.
I’m not sure whether it’s true that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we’d listen more than we speak, but I sure am aware that it’s easier to use my mouth than my ears.
Let’s ask God to help us be better listeners. Maybe, one conversation at a time, we can start to get outside of ourselves a little more often and make the world a better place.