God is very concerned throughout Scripture that people not only hear His Word, but actually listen and put it into action in their lives. James takes this instruction on listening further, by also adding that we should be “quick to listen, and slow to become angry” (James 1.19). Many people think that they are good listeners, but in fact we sometimes are very poor listeners. Our society encourages us not to be good listeners, buy focusing our lives into patterns of multi-tasking.
I remember working through our worship planning with our church worship leader one day. He was in his sixties and I was about fourty at the time. He had piles of books and papers in front of him, and I was typing and searching for songs on the computer as ideas came. He looked at me and said, ‘I wonder how someone coming into the room would think about our meetings? I know you are focused on what we are doing, but looking on it would be hard to see.’
If you have ever had a child then you may have experienced them coming and begging for your attention, repeating the call for mom or dad. If we continue our work or ignore them most children will eventually do one of two things. They will get very loud and begin to pull on us, or they will become discouraged and walk away.
James tells us to be quick to listen. Yet, many times people judge others, before really understanding the situation. Sometimes we try to advise friends or coworkers without hearing the whole story, or understanding their heart and concern. Instead of jumping to conclusions, or skipping past the growth needed through situations we should take more time to listen to others.
When it comes to listening to people who come from a different background than us it may take even more time to hear the full story and empathize with their life. If the person we are speaking with has been an enemy or someone we have had a disagreement with we will struggle even more.
The answer to hearing in those hard circumstances is not to try to run the conversation. Instead we should pray within our heart and soul that the Holy Spirit of God will give us paitence to sincerely listen and understand. We need to stop doing the ten or twenty other things we are doing and really hear what is on others hearts. God can help us to regain this ability to listen, hear, and understand. Then we can build better relationships with those in our lives.
– Keep on your journey with Jesus,