I’m preaching to myself as much as to anybody else. I’m not a good listener. Most of the time, I listen to respond or rebut but not to understand. I don’t really always engage the whole speaker– verbal, nonverbal, facial expressions, tone, etc. I just listen to words and not the heart behind the message.
The greatest command from God to the Israelites started off, “Listen.” In that context, listen means to hear and then put it into practice and not just add to your head knowledge.
We would do much better as a society if we spoke half as much and listened twice as often. If we could truly listen to those with whom we disagree, we might find we have more in common that we originally thought.
I heard something that convicted me. We don’t want to hear other opinions as much as we want to hear an echo of our own opinions. That’s why you see on social media people surround themselves with only like-minded thinkers and have very little tolerance for those who disagree or differ.
I’ve read some books by writers with very different worldviews than mine. I didn’t agree with a lot of what they said, but it forced me to examine what is was that I didn’t agree with and why. Was it really doctrinal or was it personal preference?
Maybe one day we will learn how to listen and not immediately shut down anything that we deem offensive or just plain wrong. Maybe we can skip the personal attacks and name-calling and realize that the battle is not against flesh and blood people but against spiritual forces.
It’s never bad or wrong to listen to someone else. We may find that we can learn something from anybody if we only have ears to hear.