Listening

“. . . listen . . .”

 “It is better to listen to the quiet words of someone wise than to the shouts of a ruler at a council of fools.”

(Ecclesiastes 9:17)

Sometimes there are miracles staring us in the face, just waiting for us to notice and say, “Wow!  Thanks be to God!”  This photo shows just part of the telephone switching exchange for an old, large complex.  Just imagine, every wire represents two or more voices traveling between one another.  If these wires could sing, what a chorus!  They look like small, insignificant wires, but in reality they carry potentially life-changing messages between one party and another.  Wow!

The ability to communicate with one another is one of the most important and amazing gifts God has given us.  When healthy communication truly happens there is a marvelous exchange of ideas, respect, and feelings.  We are at our best when we are truly communicating with one another.  However, the lack of good communication also leads to some of our worst hurts and atrocities.

Books have been written on communicating, but let me focus for a moment on one aspect – the listening.  A lot of how we listen and to whom we listen is influenced by what we bring to the conversation.  We might not stop to realize it in the moment, but every time we listen, we listen through the filter of all our past encounters and experiences.  That’s why when we’re listening it’s important to monitor not only the words and message we’re hearing, but the feelings and thoughts the message vibrates inside of us.  Another way to think about it might be to ask ourselves if the message “makes sense” or “excites us,” what need is it speaking to?  What feeling is it satisfying?  What feeling is it stirring?  For Christians maybe the most important question to ask as we’re listening is, “Does the message make us feel more loving like Jesus?”

Remember Jesus’ words, “And now I give you a new commandment; love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)  As I listen to a message it seems to me that it’s important that I ask myself if it makes me want to love more like Jesus, or does it stir up some other, more uncomfortable, hurtful feelings like fear, anger, mistrust, or even hate.  If it stirs the hurtful sort of feelings it might be important for me to wonder what I’m bringing to the listening moment from my life experiences that might need attention, even healing.

God is ready to heal and offer hope, but it means I need to be careful about the message I’m choosing to hear and follow.  I pray that God will heal me of anything that might keep me from listening to and following the message of Jesus.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My other book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24

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~ by revgenelson on August 10, 2016.

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