My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. ~ James 1:19
What do you hear going on around you?
If you are like me perhaps you hear a car zooming through the neighborhood or a dog barking in the distance. Notice a motor coming to life and the clock on the wall ticking off moments of time.
There is always stuff to hear. Even when we are not purposefully trying to listen to anything and, in fact, want peace and quiet.
But how often are we hearing things of great importance, but not really listening? How often is someone trying to explain, sharing her heart or wanting to get a point across, but our minds are two steps ahead planning what we will say in reply or wondering when this person will hush so we can go on with our lives. You know...to do something more important. Like watching a favorite show or running an errand or reading an assignment for class.
Has Jesus' words about "he who has ears, let him hear" ever puzzled you? Was Jesus talking to a crowd of earless people or was he perhaps instructing those who really wanted to learn to have attentive ears? To not only hear that words were being said, but the importance of those words. For those to listen, to take note of and be influenced by those godly principles.
In Arab Voices, author James Zogby has one theme that stuck out the most to me: listen to people. More specifically for this book, the Arab world. Too often we barge into situations perhaps believing we are the better educated, better informed, dare I say, better developed and civilized people so we have the authority and right to dictate things, to show those people a thing or two about life in the 21st century. Ah, such arrogance really.
I remember when I first met Samer over three years ago. He often marveled that I cared enough to ask questions and get to know more about his views, his people, culture and religion. He expected me to not care because, well, because he was an Arab, a Muslim and surely the American in this friendship would dominate the conversation, yes? Never underestimate the power of listening to another person as he shares his heart and his experiences and his point of view. It's such a wonderful way to learn from others, expand your understanding about the world and to show that other people matter to you.
Ever notice how Jesus was approached by people and instead of acting like a know-it-all, he listened to them? What do you want me to do for you? What is your problem? Jesus knew he had the answer. He was the miracle worker. He was the Blessed One from God. He knew. If anyone had the right to speak first and dictate, he did. And he did his share of teaching and instructing. But he also listened. He wanted to hear the heart of people so he could help them.
Do you want to help others?
Perhaps we should go through life listening more.
Luke 6 records these words from Jesus:
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?"
Perhaps people don't do what Jesus said because they aren't listening.
So what do you have on your heart? I'm listening. Please share.