God has given us two ears and only one tongue, someone has said, and this is a hint from God that we should listen more and talk less.
In scripture these words say it so clearly: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)
Quick to listen
It is never too late to learn the art of listening once we become aware of how important it is to truly listen. Listening is a form of love. By listening, we put aside our own agenda, we give our attention to the other. Listening requires selflessness and humility. Listening shows you respect the other person for their insights and opinion.
Wisdom begins when we listen more and talk less
Proverbs 18:2 reads, “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.”
In other words, the foolish person thinks they know it all and are right, and they have dug their heels into their opinion and would prefer to do the talking. The wise person, however, challenges themselves to grow in knowledge and understanding. That is done by respecting others for their insight. Respect is shown through listening.
In this season as we are opening up to having conversations concerning racial injustice in our country, it is so important we show our love and respect to each other as we learn to listen. As Christians, the Spirit of Christ is in us, and this can help us to overcome the tendency to think more highly of ourselves, and instead to prefer one another with an open mind — to see things through their eyes and their perspective, and that happens when we listen.
How does one listen? We might think it is easy to do, but it is not all that easy. Active listening is difficult; it takes intentionality; it takes self-discipline and self-restraint. Especially when your heels are dug into thinking you are right.
Active listening makes room for change in your way of thinking. In this tumultuous season we are in, God very clearly instructed me to…
Be quick to listen and slow to speak
And what has been my experience as I’ve listened? My mindset has changed through listening to others’ experiences. And as I daily go before God, I ask him to reveal to me if my thinking needs to be realigned in any way, and I’m secure in knowing he will reveal that to me, and he does.
It’s so important we realize we all have blind spots. As we listen and look to God for wisdom and guidance, he will direct us.
Isaiah 42:16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
This scripture brings me much comfort in knowing God will lead us in places that are unfamiliar. God will lead us through uncomfortable conversations, as we are slow to speak. As we speak, as iron sharpens iron, his word will make the rough places smooth. Godly wisdom will light our path. He will reveal injustice and he will be with us and guide us in all we do.